Sunshine, do you have any advice for a divorced couple trying to maintain a relationship to successfully raise their children?
Divorce is never easy. It seems the claws come out of people unexpectedly during this process. Most people go into marriage believing it will last forever. It doesn’t matter how long, or how short the marriage, you add the ingredient of children and the divorce process can get downright nasty.
There are many ways parents can act during a divorce; the most popular of which are argumentative, disengaged and cooperative. The reality is the arrangement you engage in is related to an issue of maturity. A common mistake when people experience divorce is to believe they can control the other person, which isn’t sensible if you couldn’t do this during the marriage, then why believe that would change after the divorce. Letting this misconception go and planning to be healthy co-parents should be your goal.
Tips for Healthy Co-Parenting after Divorce
- I know it is hard to hear, but the relationship that led to marriage is over and therefore to help with the transition, the way you see your ex must change. Because you are parent, you need to stop thinking of your former spouse as your ex-wife or ex-husband. Start looking at them as the mother or father of your child. You are in a new relationship — parents.
- Be positive. If you want to help the child or children adjust, it would be helpful to create a good relationship with your ex. If you can’t, at least be civil.
- Never discuss your ex with your child. Also, remember children can understand more than you think; so no coded conversation they can overhear. Hearing one parent talk down about the other creates confusion and makes it hard to know what to believe. Remember, most children during divorce are already struggling with issues of loyalty, so don’t make them feel like they need to choose.
- This next one really bothers me – please do not ask your child to carry messages between you and your ex. There’s nothing good about placing your child in the middle of your adult drama. Work out a cordial way of communicating with your ex.
- Stop and think of each demand that you make on the mother or father of your child and the direct consequences it will have on your child. Some people may not agree with me, but it is important to follow visitation times to the letter. Not following the arrangements or asking to change visitation dates only causes more conflict, confusion for your child and leaves room for arguments at a later time.
Remember to make your goal to get a healthy working co-parenting relationship!