Divorcing with children can be complicated, especially if you do not get along with the other parent. Spouses without children can simply go their separate ways after a divorce, but that is not possible when minor children are involved. You will have to deal with child custody matters, which can be a huge battle if you and the other parent cannot get along.
It can be hard to trust the other parent after a divorce. Will they take care of your child’s needs? Will they protect your child? Will they help the child with their homework and ensure they get to school on time?
There are a lot of concerns about parenting and custody after a divorce. While you and the other parent may not get along well, you have to focus on the one thing that you both agree on — you love your child very much. You both want your child to thrive and be successful.
It is a good idea to have a solid parenting plan in place. A parenting plan outlines the decisions you and the other parent need to make, such as those relating to healthcare and education. It includes holiday and travel plans. The parenting plan should also include a clause that outlines what you will need to do if you have a disagreement with the other parent. Have a therapist or divorce coach help you craft a solid plan. A good parenting plan will help you and the other parent regain trust in each other so that you can co-parent effectively.
Benefits of Successful Co-Parenting
It is important not to create more stress and tension for children, which can happen when the parents do not get along and badmouth each other. Successful co-parenting offers children many benefits, such as greater success in school, more secure relationships, stable mental health, good coping strategies, and positive relationships with both parents. There is less tension and conflict, making children happier and less anxious. Children also have higher self-esteem and more maturity. In addition, they learn organization skills and are able to handle disagreements without arguing.
Divorce can be emotional and stressful, but it is essential for parents to focus on ways to put their kids’ needs first. Parents’ continuing conflict after divorce can be damaging for children. Kids need two parents who can get along and co-parent effectively. While this takes a lot of work, it is well worth it.
What Should Parents Do?
Here are some ways in which parents can effectively co-parent and make the lives of their children much easier:
- Respect the roles of each parent. Each parent has their place in the family. You both are sharing beliefs and values you hope your children will uphold. You are both modeling the behavior that your kids will want to imitate, so be good role models. Show respect and good communication. Teach your children how to treat others. Model friendliness, even when you and the other parent are not happy with each other.
- Be consistent. It is best when both households have the same rules. This makes things easier when children go from one home to another. While it may be difficult for both houses to have identical rules, there should at least be consistency when it comes to discipline and behavior. It is fine to not agree on everything.
- Do not badmouth the other parent. This happens a lot, but needs to be avoided. Badmouthing is hurtful to children. Do not say negative things about the child’s other parent, as this causes them stress and makes them feel bad about themselves. Instead, focus on positive aspects of the other parent. If you cannot do that, then it is best to just not say anything at all.
- Do not put children in harmful roles. Some parents treat their children as messengers, spies, confidantes, or allies, whether purposely or unconsciously, so try to avoid this. Do not talk about divorce with your child. They do not need to know the details of the divorce, what caused the divorce, or your financial issues. This only makes your children stressed out and anxious. Do not pit your child against one parent.
- Be willing to compromise. When issues arise between you and the other parent, listen to their concerns and be willing to compromise. Do not try to get your way all the time. Try mediation or therapy if you two cannot come to an agreement on your own, but avoid conflict. This is what damages children the most, so keep it to a minimum and try to be the bigger person, no matter how hard it may be.
- Celebrate special moments together. Your children want you both in their lives, so do not try to avoid special moments and celebrations simply because you do not want to be around the other parent. Spend birthdays together. Attend sporting events and extracurricular activities as a team. If your child accomplishes something, share the joy with the other parent. Do not try to make your child choose sides. Both parents should be constants in their children’s lives. Be mature about the situation.
Seek Legal Help
Getting along with the other parent after a divorce is no easy task. But no matter what feelings you have toward your ex, you need to be a mature person and get over them, for your child’s sake.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you with co-parenting after divorce. Get the help you need so your children can succeed. Schedule a consultation with our office by calling (954) 398-5712 or filling out the online form.