Parents worry that splitting up will destroy their children’s lives. The guilt that clings to each divorced parent can be burdensome, and in most cases, it hinders successful co-parenting after the divorce is finalised or even in the midst of the divorce proceeding.
Since co-parenting is vital for your children to continue life as they know it, it is crucial for you to know how to co-parent with your ex-spouse successfully.
We have some tips for you.
Quality over Quantity
When it comes to spending time with your children, you need to remember that quality matters. You have a lot of control over the relationship with your children. Work out a schedule with your ex-spouse during the divorce proceeding with your family lawyer that is reasonable and practical for your children. Do not insist on a 50-50 split between both parents as it may place unnecessary stress on the children. Instead, work out a reasonable schedule and have confidence that you can still keep the close bond with your children even if they don’t stay with you.
Prepare for changes
Change is the constant in life so be prepared for the schedules to changes, priorities to changes and even your children to change as they grow up. Forge ahead with the changes and make plans with your ex-spouse whenever there are changes in either of your schedules or priorities.
Treat co-parenting as a “new relationship”
If the divorce had been bad, and your feelings have yet to calm, remind yourself that you can treat co-parenting like a new relationship with a colleague at work. If you adopt a business-like in your attitude towards the other parent, do remember to treat him or her with graciousness and politeness. Positive changes can come from you, and it can lead to a successful co-parenting that benefits all of you.
We cannot stress this enough. Open communication is vital in a co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse. If you are uncomfortable with speaking to your ex-spouse so often, approach it like a business meeting. Some parents who had an amicable divorce can schedule a weekly status meeting that allows both parents to update each other what happened to their children within the week. Others who are less inclined to do a face to face meeting uses emails and voice messages to update. Regardless the method of communication, it is crucial for you to manage an open line of communication.
Encourage your children to express their concerns and fears
Before you commit to the initial co-parenting agreement with your ex-spouse and your divorce lawyer during the divorce proceedings, encourage your children to express their concerns and fears about how their daily lives will change. Your children want to know the details of the co-parenting schedule – who are they spending Christmas and New Year Day with, and whether they will have two homes moving forward. Such questions can be hard to answer, and you may not have immediate answers for them. Nonetheless, reassure them that you will speak with the other parent and sort things out before the co-parenting agreement is sealed and signed.
Finally, we want to encourage you to manage your emotions and not leave them open for your children to see. While it is a tall order to fulfil, you can do it if you work on being kind to yourself and letting yourself have a breather. After all, self-care is essential because you need to care for yourself first before you can look after your children well.