Divorce is usually a painful and complicated process, but when children are involved things can become even tougher. Co-parenting requires a delicate balance of positive, careful communication, but with the right techniques it is possible to raise a healthy, happy child despite the difficulties of divorce.
One of the keys to a strong co-parenting dynamic is in consistency. Your child needs to feel secure and stable and a consistent set of rules, rewards and boundaries will reinforce their sense of what to expect in each household. Though you may have differing values and opinions on certain parenting strategies, it’s important to come to an agreement and then ensure that there are clear similarities between you.
Leave Your Kids Out Of It
Though your children will always be your focus, it’s important to separate your relationship with them from the divorce itself. If there is still anger, resentment or other difficult emotions between you and your ex-spouse, make sure you keep those feelings away from your kids. Use friends or perhaps a counsellor to vent your emotions to, and maintain a positive, calm focus when your child is present.
Try not to display your anger towards your ex in front of your child, as this can be confusing and upsetting for children – and those negative feelings can have a drastic impact on their relationship with each of you as parents. It can be difficult to mask these strong emotions when the pain of the divorce is still fresh, but maintaining a stable emotional environment at home is crucial.
Practice Communication Skills
While the communication may have broken down in your marriage, there’s no reason you can’t rebuild a new set of communication tools after divorce to successfully co-parent. Try approaching each conversation, with your child at the centre of your mind, always taking into consideration whether the discussion will benefit them or not. If you struggle to leave emotions out of the conversation, approach it as you would a talk with a respected colleague, and put your anger aside for the sake of mature, open communication.
Keeping up a consistent dialogue and stream of communication with your ex is extremely important, difficult as it may be. This will show your child that both of you are still united in parenting them, and that the family still exists, just in a different structure.
Get Help From A Professional
Learning to co-parent isn’t easy, so professional support can be a useful tool. Our specialist divorce counsellors and family therapists can help you come together as a team so that your family is able to move forward into a successful, happy future.