Have you had it with your ex? Can you even remember why you married the father or mother of your children? Are you ready to call it quits completely, no matter the cost?
Take a deep breath. Know that you are not alone. And realize that your children need you to be a bigger person than you have ever had to be before.
Life after divorce is often uncomfortable and even ugly at times. Divorced couples argue and bicker—the animosity there can extend far. But your children need both parents. They need you both to be at your best at a time when they are struggling with their changing family situation.
When you have no idea how to move forward in a way that is in the best interests of your children, remember these top co-parenting tips.
7 Co-Parenting Tips After Divorce
- Never put your children in the middle. Do not ask them to ferry messages back and forth. Do not make them choose you over your ex when there are disputes. Do not ask them to spy on the other parent and report back to you.
- Never guilt your children over the situation. This includes times when your children have to make hard choices, such as where to live or with whom to take that special vacation. They are the innocents here; treat them as such.
- Find an outside outlet for your anger, frustration and other negative feelings. Your children should not be sounding boards for your frustration, no matter how close you are to them.
- Focus on open communication with your ex. You two may have no idea how to communicate with one another. But you must find a way. You need to be able to speak civilly with one another about parenting your children, including those times when the children are not around. This will ensure you do not slip up in front of the kids one day.
- Keep lines of communication open with your children. They are going through a lot right now. Encourage them to speak freely. Engage your active listening skills. Be empathetic. Be honest. Help them work through their feelings so they can come out of this as emotionally sound as possible.
- Establish routines to ease the transition process. Children do best with routines. Set and stick to pick-up and drop-off times. Choose an activity to do with your children right before and after visiting the other parent. The more you can do to create a knowable situation for your children, the better off you all will be.
- Place the highest priority on your kids. The proper way to care for your children after a divorce is to prioritize them over everyone else. Focus on your love for them instead of your anger for your ex. Put them at the center of any conversation you have with your ex. Do whatever you can to make sure your children know they are loved and supported by both of you, no matter what.
If you are still concerned about how to best handle co-parenting after divorce, speak with your family law attorney. You will gain focused counsel and actionable steps you can take to make this process as painless as possible for you, your children and yes, even your ex.