Published: 19th September 2019
A divorce is often a very difficult time for everybody involved; however, when there are children involved, they have to be the main priority, regardless of the situation between the two separating parents.
Co-parenting is a must following your divorce, yet you may well have your reservations about doing so, based on several different factors.
You might be extremely stressed over financial issues, worried about your former partner's parenting skills or even simply unsure whether you can ever get past the conflict between the two of you.
Despite this, co-parenting truly can be something that your children need, providing them with security, reassurance, stability and most importantly the right type of relationship with both parents.
Co-parenting is when both parents play an active role in their children’s lives following a divorce, and it is thought to be the most effective way of bringing the children up following the separation unless there has been a history of issues relating to domestic violence or abuse.
Although many parents initially dread the thought of interacting with their ex-partner or have difficulties in placing their trust in them with regards to their children’s welfare, they do often realise that co-parenting is the best route for them to take.
Once you have separated the issues that you have away from the need to care for your children, co-parenting can be successful and can provide your little ones with a range of benefits.
You should look to reassure your children that they weren’t the issue forcing you and your former-partner away from each other and that they are much more important than anything that has happened.
Once you have done this and have created an effective co-parenting relationship, your children could benefit in the following ways:
Having Role Models – By working together, you are forming a relationship that your children can be proud of, leading by example to become role models for your children.
Although they will already love and adore you as their parents, by seeing the sacrifices and changes that you make to form a co-parenting relationship, you are showing them that you can put your differences aside to allow for something much more important.
Security and Stability – Something that is very important for children, particularly at a young age, is that they have stability and security in their life.
By co-parenting, you are giving them as much security and stability as they need, as close to still being married as possible.
Consistency in Life – Co-parenting often leads to widespread discipline, rules and allowances across the different households, creating a level of consistency for your child, helping your children to understand how they need to behave.
A Healthier state, mentally and emotionally – As co-parenting is likely to lead to less conflict between the two parents, it can have a positive impact on the state of your children.
Those children caught up in conflict are more likely to develop anxiety or depression, and co-parenting therefore minimises these risks.
Improved Ability to Problem Solve – Children witness first-hand how you and your ex-partner work together to resolve issues and make the best of a bad situation, and so they are likely to learn from that and become better problem solvers themselves.
It is important that you commit to co-parenting if you decide that it is the best route to take, and that means making sacrifices and doing certain things you wish you didn’t have to.
To help make the situation as successful as possible, we have created a list of some of our top tips for parents looking to form a co-parenting relationship.
Set aside any Negativity towards your Ex-Partner – There is likely to be a whole host of negativity, anger and frustration from both sides following the divorce, but the most important thing to do for your children is to set this aside and focus on them.
This, of course, could be a very difficult thing to do, but it is essential for making co-parenting work, and although not all of your negative thoughts and feelings will go away, you should never let it influence anything that you do.
Improve the Contact with Children – Moving from one parent to the other can be very disruptive for children, and although you can never really avoid the back and forth between the two households, there may be many different things that you can do to make the process better.
Firstly, you need to understand that although your children are happy to see you and to spend time with you; they are likely to miss the other parent, especially during the early stages of seeing you.
Therefore, you should keep things as normal as possible when they arrive, and don’t make a big fuss of them coming to your house, regardless of how excited you are to see them.
When it comes to them going back to the other parent, it is a good idea to remind them a few times over the 24 hours before they are to go back, as this will help them to come to terms with it and will cause less disruption.
Work together as a Team – As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work, and this is no different where co-parenting is concerned.
Teamwork allows you to create a certain level of stability and consistency, helping to improve your children’s quality of life through implementing rules, disciplines and schedules that are used at both households.
Whether you like to think it or not, both parents are as involved in decision-making for their children as each other, and this is where teamwork is so important.
For education, finances and medical needs, both parents should work together to make the right decision for their children, so being able to work as a team is very important.
Always Communicate with each other – As we have already established, separated parents aren’t likely to want to communicate with each other all too much, yet despite this, constant communication is a vital piece of the puzzle.
Speaking over the phone or through messaging, you will need to communicate with each other to ensure that your children are ok, and to discuss different things that may have an impact on their well-being.
If you fail to communicate effectively, there will likely be confusion and mistakes made, which isn’t positive for anybody.
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