No child likes to see their parents get divorced. It can be both confusing and painful. Whether the divorce has been amicable or acrimonious, the children are always going to be in love and in awe of both their parents. Their life patterns and habits will be determined by the characteristics of both the parents, and what they see and observe in the family.
Divorce can be a result of many things- one of the partners falling out of love, one of the partners cheating on the other, bitter disagreements and fights, and myriad other reasons. But for none of them, are your kids responsible. They deserve happiness, childhood, peace and companionship of both parents. They deserve a good upbringing and parenting.
And somewhere that’s what all parents want to provide their children, more so the divorced ones. But the dilemmas, bitterness, emptiness that comes with a divorce or broken relationship can be overwhelming and all consuming. Under such circumstances, you may find it difficult to decide what is best for your children, and how to be good parents.
A little tweaking in your priorities, a little earnestness in your efforts and love and mutual respect for the family, as a unit, no matter what,can make co-parenting easier than you think. Here is how you can do it.
Stay Kid Focused
You may wonder how difficult can co-parenting really be? Well with all the emotional mess, financial turbulence, and, feelings of self deprecation and being stupid, we would say, quite difficult. Do not drag or ignore your kids when so much and more is going on. In fact be there for them.
All your actions should be aligned to one goal, the benefit and betterment of your kids. When anger or bitterness over a failed marriage takes over, it has a negative impact on the kids too. When you feel resentful or vindictive, think about your kids, look at their photos, just go and give them a hug if you are nearby. You will feel better, get control over your nerves and temper and take the course of action most beneficial for them.
When you decide on co-parenting, you know you will have to communicate with your ex all significant details of your children. This could actually be a very good thing, and allow you and your ex to set up a coordinated and consistent parenting style for your kids. When the kids see less conflict between mother and father’s way of disciplining, and directions, they will adjust better, feel more secure, and know what behaviour patterns they need to foster and display, and what to expect from the parents. Agreement between parents make the kids feel they won’t have to make choices between the parents. They deal better with the divorce and emerge as confident individuals with higher self esteems.
Have an Outlet for Your Emotions
What you feel is bound to affect your behaviour and tendencies. Restrain works for sometime sure, but not forever. Co-parenting can be very difficult. Meeting that same person again and again who has caused all that pain and hurt can never be easy. But venting out your emotions before your child is not the right route either. The hurt and the negativity must be dealt with.
Have a safe outlet for your emotions. Whether it’s a best friend you trust and confide in, a therapist helping you out, a pet listening and loving unconditionally, or just physical activities to get the anger and aggression out, invest emotionally in a space of your own, where you can just be yourself. But for your kids, become that loving and responsible parent they so adore, and not an unhappy and complaining individual who always sees the glass half empty.
Consult Each Other on Major Decisions
You do not need to talk to your ex regarding every minute detail of your child, but you do need to consult him or her on major factors of the child’s life like financial and medical issues, education and the child’s overall growth and development.
If one parent is able to provide a better standard of life to the child, the other parent should not have an inferior complex because of that. Consult each other on the opportunities you want your child to receive. Medical appointments and healthcare needs of the child needs to be taken care of by both parents. Similarly, one parent or both should always be present at sports events, and school activities to motivate and encourage the child.
If you and your ex are disagreeing on these important matters, it is important that you both talk out all your differences, and arrive to mutually agreed conclusions about the child’s upbringing.
If you cannot reach an agreement, don’t express your disagreements and diverse opinions strongly before your child. Consider a third party like a therapist or mediator to sort out these important issues.
The slightly smaller or trivial ones, simply let them go.
Draw Up a Clear and Concise Co-Parenting Plan
This is going to be a significant part of your life.
A co-parenting document defines how much time the child will spent with each parent, what is expected of each parent, and how the roles and responsibilities will change as the children grow up and circumstances change.
It is very important to draw up a clear co-parenting plan in black and white, that keeps the child’s best interests at the core. It also prevents the ugly blame game between parents and charters out clearly how important decisions regarding the child will be taken, and will serve as a valuable reference for the co-parenting process.
One of the greatest joys you can give a child during the turbulent times of divorce is the gift of having both parents by his or her side. However, there do arise situations where the marriage has been a constant source of pain and suffering for you and you simply do not want to see your ex anymore. Co-parenting is just not an option. Even in such cases, you can give your child support, companionship and guidance of both parents by drawing up a contract of parallel parenting. Here the parents disengage from each other, have limited interactions with one another but remain completely connected to their children individually and make major decisions in separate areas of their children’s life.