Divorce is stressful, but when it involves minor children, it is even more so.
Eventually, parents come to terms with the fact that while they are divorcing
each other, they are not divorcing their children and they must work together
If you are on the brink of divorce and are concerned about building a successful
co-parenting relationship, here are our tips to make that goal a reality:
Treat your spouse with respect. During your divorce, if you treat your spouse with respect, it will make
it easier to co-parent during the separation and after the divorce is
Help your children cope with the divorce. Adults are not the only ones who suffer during a divorce; many children
have difficulty coping as their family life is turned upside-down. If
you are not sure how to help your children through this transition, you
can seek a therapist’s advice or read books on children and divorce
written by experts.
Take the high road. Even if you have bitter feelings toward your husband or wife, it’s
best not to share your resentment with your children and acquaintances.
Rather, take the high road when people ask you why you are getting a divorce.
By taking a mature approach, you are reducing the chances of upsetting
your spouse and the divorce escalating out of control.
Focus on your children. Divorce is a highly stressful event. One of the best ways to help you and
your children cope is to spend lots of quality time with your children.
While you do this, don’t forget to reinforce the fact that you love
them and the divorce is not their fault.
Use discretion when dating. After a divorce, a child’s emotions can be raw, especially if the
child is in fourth grade or above. Often, all children want is for their
parents to get back together. That said, if you decide to date again,
exercise discretion. Plan your dates for nights when your children are
at the other parent’s house instead of hiring a babysitter. If you
do find someone “special,” be cautious about making introductions
too soon. Many experts recommend waiting six months before introducing
a new partner to one’s children.
Consider staying close to your children. If you are the non-custodial parent, one of the best ways to maintain a
good relationship with your children is to remain physically close. If
you can stay within the same school zone, it can make all the difference
in the frequency of meaningful interactions with your children.
Be open to flexibility. You may have a stressed relationship with your former spouse, but that
does not have to affect scheduling. If you and the other parent can be
flexible with each other’s schedules, it can make co-parenting much
easier. For instance, if the other parent needs to go out of town on business,
you should see this as a bonus opportunity to see your children. Such
an approach is healthier than saying, “It’s not my turn, find
someone else to watch the children.”
Treat your former spouse’s partner with respect. While this can be emotionally challenging, everyone benefits, especially
your children. If your former husband or wife enters a new relationship,
treat the new partner with dignity and respect. You will be setting a
good example to your children.
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