How to Navigate Co-Parenting After Divorce
By: Brianna French
There are few issues as complicated as divorce. The process of legally separating from someone whom you planned to spend your life with is often tenuous at best. These negative feelings, associated with the process, are only amplified when there are children involved. Here at Tessmer Law Firm, we know that the well-being of your children is, and always will be, your top priority. To help you on this new journey of co-parenting, we compiled a few tips and tricks to help you learn how to co-parent effectively!
As a firm that has handled countless, often messy divorce cases, we understand that working closely with your ex or soon-to-be-ex can be mentally and emotionally draining. After all, you are separated for a reason! During these times, it is vitally important for the well-being of your children that you and your ex learn to conduct yourselves civilly when it comes to parenting matters.
Remember, no matter how different you two may be, you will always have your children in common and you both love them very much. Keeping this in mind can remind us that our children and their well-being should always be at the forefront.
Every parent knows that children like to test our boundaries. Children push the envelope and see what they can get away with while learning who they are and where they fit in the world. A natural impulse in children is discovering a feeling of independence and autonomy.
For these reasons, it is important for you and your ex to get on the same page regarding discipline with co-parenting. When one parent allows something that the other parent does not, it often creates a power struggle in the mind of your child. They may begin to wonder who is really in charge and often act out as a result. Your children deserve consistency and stability in their lives. Having set rules for both households can go a long way in making them feel safe and reassured.
Children’s brains are like sponges, always soaking up information. This can be an issue with negative conversations that you have about your ex in front of your child. We understand that, to you, your ex might be someone that you perceive rather negatively. To your child, however, that is their mother or father, and they deserve to have a parent that they are proud of.
Trust us, we know how hard it might be to find anything positive to say about your ex. However, it’s vitally important for the well-being of your child to only speak positively about the other parent in front of your child. You will both be grateful that you chose to do this in the long run. Psychology statistics often show that children grow up to be generally happier and have higher self-esteem in cases where the parents chose to positively represent each other to and in front of the child.
Has your child ever tattled on someone before? What about when your child tells you that their daddy put them in timeout for something silly or maybe that mommy lets them drink as much soda as they want before bed?
For many, our first reaction is to be angry at and condemning of our ex. We understand that your ex has probably done a lot of very hurtful, careless things in the past, and in these moments, you are reminded of them.
Here at Tessmer Law Firm, we would urge you to remain calm. Your child is always watching and listening. Choose this moment to trust that your ex is doing their best for your child, just as you are. We know that it’s hard, but it will help to reinforce a sense of family for your child. This will remind them that, even when separated, you and your ex are both their parents.
This one is tough; we won’t sugar-coat it. The reality of your situation is less than ideal, and it can often feel overwhelming to work so closely with someone whom you might have a tainted history with. Maybe you’re lucky and you and your ex get along very well! However, maybe you are like so many others who feel they are constantly at war with someone who was supposed to be their teammate.
Co-parenting is not pleasant, it’s not fun, and it certainly isn’t what you signed up for. You’re entitled to feel angry and sad about the situation, and you should allow yourself to feel those things. However, remember, at the end of the day, your kids need both you and your ex to step up. Be the best partners that you can be, given the circumstances, for their sake. You both love them very much, and they will remember all that you both did to make this transition so much easier for them.
Were The 5 C’s to Co-Parenting helpful? For more information, contact us today!
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