How to Co-Parent After Divorce
What is Co-Parenting?
Co-parenting is when divorced parents raise and make decisions for their children together. The parents collaborate on the big decisions and then work separately on the minor everyday decisions.
This is important because making decisions together can alleviate the stress both divorced parents and children can feel when it comes to the tension disagreements between parents can bring. Kids might be young, but they can feel overwhelmed when no one is on their side. And all they want is for their parents to get along.
How to Co-Parent After Divorce
To successfully co-parent after a divorce, both parents need to come to an agreement on the behaviors that they have towards each other and towards their children.
Here are some behaviors to consider:
Respect your Child’s Relationship with your Ex
Do not disrespect or sabotage your child’s relationship with the other parent. As important as your relationship is with your child, it is equally important for your child to have a relationship with your ex. If you feel like your child is having problems with the other parent, talk to your child, but don’t impose your feelings about your ex on them. Let your child know that regardless of your relationship with the other parent, you’re both working together to create a harmonious relationship for everyone by effectively co-parenting.
Don’t use your Child as a Pawn
Do not try to hurt or “get back” at your ex by using your child as a pawn or to collect information. Your kid didn’t sign up to be a piece in a game, and they shouldn’t be used or treated as such. If you are having issues with your ex, take the problem up with them, or suggest counseling to get both divorced parents on the same page. Leave all of the bickering, name-calling, and scheming behind for the benefit of your child.
Stick to the Schedule
Divorced parenting includes creating a schedule for where the child will be at all times. Taking into account the child’s school schedule, both parents’ work schedules, any activities outside of school, etc. Decide what makes the best sense for your child, not what makes immediate sense for either parent. The child comes first, especially after a divorce. So don’t force your child to choose sides in scheduling or planning conflict. Talk with your ex, and get on the same page, then discuss the schedule with your child.
Create Boundaries between you and your Child
Emotions for children run very high when it comes to divorced parents, even if you don’t immediately see it. The same can be said for you and your ex. When your child spends time with you, take the time to check in on your child, not the other way around. They are not adults, and should not be responsible for your emotional care. Don’t depend on your child for companionship and support because you are hurt. If you notice this is a pattern for yourself or your ex, reach out to a friend, family member, or counselor for help. Boundaries help create a healthy emotional environment for your child that doesn’t feel like a burden to live in.
Be Excited when your Kid’s Excited
If your child is happy about anything related to your ex, be happy for your child! Do not make your child feel guilty about having a good time with your ex or spending time with their family. Just because you are no longer a part of that family doesn’t mean that your child is not. So when your kid is experiencing excitement about something related to your ex, don’t snap, don’t smack your lips. Feel the happiness that your child is feeling.
Keep moving toward actions that feel peaceful and bring happiness to your lives. Make sure you are communicating with your ex in a way that is concise and direct to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. If there are disagreements, it’s important to sit down without the children and be open to speaking freely. Communication should be focused on problem-solving and meeting the needs of the children to have an effective co-parenting relationship. Be helpful to one another and understanding, but also clear about your boundaries and needs.
If you need the help of a family lawyer, contact Lafrance Law today.