Positive Co-Parenting Plans After Divorce
Learn how to have a functional and positive co-parenting relationship with your ex, so that you can help your kids stay healthy and happy.
Nobody ever goes into a marriage thinking that one day they will be getting divorce advice or learning about co-parenting after separation. Yet, with 42 percent of marriages in the United States ending in divorce, this is what many former couples are learning to do.
So how can you co-parent with your ex? It isn't easy, but in order to give your children the best possible upbringing after your separation, it's important to learn how to be civil and put your children first. That's why we're sharing a few positive co-parenting tips that will help you create a new normal for your family.
1. Put Personal Feelings Aside
This is much easier said than done. Getting a divorce means you have a complicated and likely hurtful relationship with your ex. But it's important, for the sake of your children, to put your personal feelings for your former spouse aside.
2. Find a Mediator Who Isn't Your Child
One key piece of divorce advice you need to follow is not to involve your children in your adult problems. It is unkind for parents to use their children as a go-between to give and receive information from a former spouse.
Of course, it is not always easy to talk to your ex. You may feel hurt, betrayed, or bitterly angry when you are around them. If you absolutely cannot talk to one another civilly, look for other ways to communicate, such as through text messaging or e-mail.
It can be extremely helpful to seek divorce advice from a counselor or even attend therapy with your ex. This will help you get all of your issues out on the table. It may be uncomfortable at first, but your counselor will be able to help you both form a plan of action to be the best co-parents possible after your divorce.
3. Ex-partners can get Work on Communication
They say that communication is the key to a happy marriage, and the same is true of ex-couples who are learning about co-parenting.
You may feel you have bad blood with your ex, but you still have to talk to each other about your child, their school, health, and scheduling arrangements. Communicating does not mean getting into each other’s personal lives or being social, but you should be able to have some level of respectful and courtesy when speaking to one another.
4. Pretend You Are Co-Workers
This is one divorce advice method that many parents find helpful when dealing with their ex. Instead of viewing them as your former romantic partner, see them as your co-worker. After all, you are both essentially working toward the same goal - raising your child to be happy and healthy.
Even though you no longer have a romantic relationship, you must continue a working relationship in order for your co-parenting efforts to succeed. Keep your communication to the point and business-like. Be respectful but cordial, focusing on the children instead of your own personal problems with one another.
5. Have Structure and Consistency
Studies show that romantic breakups trigger psychological distress and decline in life satisfaction. This is true not only for yourself but for your children, too.
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry found that children often experience stress and anxiety after their parent's divorce.
From living in two different houses to not seeing both their parents every day, the changes your child will go through are going to be tough, but you can make it easier for them by creating structure and consistency in their lives. Children thrive when they have structure in their lives. You can make sure they have this by creating a plan with your ex-partner about having the same house rules in both households (for example, having the same curfew enforced) and keeping the same schedules regarding mealtimes, bath time, and bedtimes.
6. Have a Positive Attitude
Studies show that children learn behaviors and mimic feelings from those around them, so the more stressed out, angry, or upset you are, the more likely your child will feel the same way. But, if you have a positive attitude regarding your child and new co-parenting arrangement, the more at ease they will feel.
One piece of divorce advice for having a positive attitude is not to smack talk your ex in front of your child. This may be a much-needed outlet for you when speaking to close friends or family, but it would not be beneficial for your child to hear you talking badly about their mother or father.
Another suggestion is to ask polite questions. Just because your ex doesn't exist in your daily life, doesn't mean the same is true for your child. When they come home from a weekend at their mom or dads, ask about what they did and receive the information positively and without jealousy.
7. Resolve Disagreements Respectfully
You may not get along so well with your ex, but it's important to learn how to resolve your differences in a timely and respectful manner.
If you disagree on something regarding your children, you must learn to talk it out. Cut your ex some slack and show them that their concerns have your undivided attention. Cooperating or compromising with your ex may be the last thing that you want to do, but remember that by doing so you are putting your child's welfare and happiness first.
8. Be Patient
Learning successful co-parenting doesn't happen overnight. It takes time.
You and your ex may not have all the answers right away, but with time, patience, forgiveness, and practice, you will learn how to create a life for your child that is happy and fulfilling.
Going through a divorce isn't easy on you or your children. However, you can show them a new normal by being civil and working as a team with your ex. Being patient and having a positive attitude will go a long way for you, your ex, and your children. By working with your former spouse as parents, you'll create consistency and a beneficial new structure for your kids.
About the Author: Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.