Co-parenting after separating or divorcing isn’t easy, however, it is important that your children are in a stable, secure environment, with close relationships to both parents.
Co-Parenting After Separation or Divorce
Co-parenting is when both parents play an active role in their children’s daily lives. The quality of the relationship between both parents can have a strong influence on the well-being of the children.
With this in mind, it is important that parents join forces (so to speak) to ensure that in their dealings with each other, they are prioritising the needs of their children.
It’s All About the Children
Co-parenting can be fraught with stress, particularly if you have a contentious relationship with your ex-partner. For the sake of children’s well-being, however, it is possible for you to overcome co-parenting challenges and for you to have a working relationship with your ex-partner.
The relationship becomes more like a ‘business’ relationship, and if you see it this way, it will make the job much easier. It is important to separate the personal relationship with your ex-partner from the co-parenting relationship, which is all about the children and the children alone.
Essentially, the co-parenting relationship is not about you, or your ex-partner. The relationship may have come to an end, but both parties will need to act in the children’s best interests at all times.
Communication & Consistency
Children benefit from feeling secure, and they embrace a routine. If both parents follow similar rules, discipline etc. then the children know exactly what to expect, and indeed what is expected of them.
While it may be difficult to set aside all of your resentment about the breakup of your marriage or relationship, it is advisable to separate your issues with your ex-partner away from the children.
It is never a good idea to use the children to convey messages between the parents, nor is it advisable to say negative things about your ex-partner to the children or make them feel like they must choose.
It is important to maintain effective communication with your ex-partner. As stated, by approaching co-parenting as you would a business partnership and dealing with them as you would a typical work colleague you can eliminate much of the stress to you out of the communication.
You should aim for consistency between your home and your ex-spouse/partner’s home to avoid any confusion for the children, with all parties trying to agree on some basic rules that both will enforce.
These would include rules in relation to homework, bedtimes etc. This shared approach should cover both an agreed discipline regime and indeed rewarding process for good behaviour.
How to Approach Co-Parenting
Living in two houses can be difficult for children. Every reunion with one parent is a separation from the other. There are some things that can help make this transition easier on the children.
- It is important to be, or appear, positive when your child is getting ready for an access visit.
- When the children return home, it may be difficult for them to re-adjust. Avoid questioning them about how things went upon their return, and keep things low-key.
- Consider planning a special routine to help them adjust every time they return (e.g. play a game, cook a special meal etc.) This way, children know exactly what to expect upon their return.
You cannot underestimate the difficulties associated with co-parenting, but if both parents can focus on the children’s needs and wellbeing, no matter what issues arise between them, it is a huge advantage.
There will be times when less is more and there will be others times when you simply have to let things go and pick your battles. For legal advice and support in relation to family law, get in touch today.