Tips for Effective Co-Parenting After a Divorce
For divorced parents, co-parenting effectively in the aftermath of a divorce can be difficult, particularly if the relationship is still rather contentious and fraught with raw emotions. However, being able to co-parent in a civil manner is incredibly important for your children since it provides a sense of stability and security for them. You might never be happy at the thought of having to continuously deal with your ex-spouse, but making this relationship work is about your children and their well-being.
Here are some tips to help you remain calm, consistent, and keep the focus on your kids:
- Let your emotions take a back seat: If you want to successfully co-parent with your ex, you are going to have to set your emotions aside. Your anger, resentment, and hurt are not going to do your children any favors if you invite them to the forefront of all your interactions with your ex. Co-parenting should not be about the past or any unresolved grievances, but rather about ensuring your children’s happiness and well-being. To separate these negative or difficult emotions from how you behave, you should find another outlet to vent and release your feelings. For example, close friends or therapists are great listeners. You should never vent to your children. Doing so will make them feel like they have to choose between you and the other parent.
You should also refrain from using your children as messengers. If there is a message you wish to convey to your co-parent, do so directly. There is no reason to put your children in the middle of a potential conflict.
- Work on communicating effectively: Communication is key when it comes to successful co-parenting and essential to maintaining peace. Anytime you are about to contact your ex, ask yourself how this discussion could potentially impact your child. You should also ensure that any discussion you have with your ex is focused on your children rather than on any issues you might have with your former partner.
You should also consider the most effective methods for communicating with your ex. Remember, you do not always have to meet in person. You can choose to communicate over the phone, or send texts and emails, depending on what works best for your dynamic. Ultimately, your goal should be to establish a type of conflict-free communication.
When speaking with your co-parent, consider doing the following:
- Set a formal, but cordial, tone.
- Make requests instead of statements.
- Take the time to truly listen and understand what your co-parent is saying.
- Exhibit some restraint and try not to overreact.
- Commit to engaging in frequent communication.
- Keep conversations focused on the needs of your children.
- Co-parenting should be a team effort: Regardless if you are on good terms with your ex or not, the fact is you will have to make many joint decisions on behalf of your children throughout the years. Being able to accomplish this without any major fights or bickering will make this process go smoothly, so it is in the best interest of your children that you aim for consistency and teamwork with your co-parent.
To achieve consistency, you and your co-parent should:
- Try to establish similar rules regarding homework, curfews, and off-limit activities.
- When rules are broken, both households must be on the same page in terms of discipline. Both households should also have similar rewards for good behavior.
- You should also strive for similar schedules in both households, including meal time, homework, and bed time. This will spare your children the trouble of having to readjust after every visit.
For important decision-making, it is crucial to always be open, honest, and straightforward. This is essential not only for the well-being of your child, but for your relationship with your ex as well. No matter how well you work together, remember that disagreements are inevitable and, when they do occur, you need to keep in mind that respect goes a long way. Keep talking until you are able to reach a compromise that you are both able to accept.
- Make transitions between visits easier: Moving from one home to another, no matter how often or infrequently it happens, can be difficult for children to cope with. Every time they reunite with a parent, they are also separating from another parent, which can stir up a lot of delicate emotions. Given the circumstances, these transitions are not something that can be avoided, but you can make it easier for them.
When your children leave, there are a few things you can do to prepare them:
- Remind them they will be visiting their other parent’s home a couple of days before the visit.
- Help your children pack in advance and encourage packing things that are familiar like beloved stuffed toys or a photograph.
- Never pick up your children from their other parent’s home. Instead, drop them off to avoid interrupting any special moments they might be having with their parent.
When your children return, help them adjust:
- Arrange for some down time together. Choose a quiet bonding activity that does not put pressure on them to behave as they normally would.
- In some cases, your kids might need some time to adjust. If it seems like your children are in need of space, do something else nearby, and allow them some time to themselves.
- Establish a special routine that helps them know what to expect upon their return. It will help facilitate a smooth transition.
Long Island Family Law Attorneys
If you are facing an unresolved family issue, the legal team at Hedayati Law Group, P.C. is here for you. Our Long Island family law attorneys have assisted countless families through a wide range of legal issues, regardless if the case needs to be settled in or out of court. We represent clients across all the five boroughs of New York City.
Backed by over 100 years of combined experience, you can be confident in our ability to effectively address your concerns and help you achieve your goals.
Contact us today at (631) 880-6440 to schedule a free consultation.