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Parenting after Divorce

by on 09/09/2013 3351

Parenting is an overall tough job to do. It’s a process that requires, what seems like a lifetime, to master and even so, you will still feel like there’s a lot more you need to learn.

On top of parenting, going through a divorce or having just gone through one, is something not many who are not experiencing it can imagine. Parenting is hard enough for some of us to do it with a spouse so having to do it between homes and with ex-partners takes a lot more courage and patience to do it.

Although many admit that it is hard to accomplish at the earlier stages of a divorce, effective co-parenting can be achieved. While both parents know that their relationship is over, they still have a family to take care of. This is the motivator for effective co-parenting, as the children can’t be left stuck in the middle.

These basic tips and guides on how to co-parent after a divorce can help you to ease in the transition and make the process slightly easier.

You – Build a strong foundation

Now that you have gone your separate way from your ex, it’s time for you to be strong on your own. No one says it’s going to be easy. In fact, it will be hard even if you had an amicable split and especially hard if you were very attached to your ex.

No matter how the relationship ended, both you and your ex need to know that the most important thing now is to put your children’s welfare above everything and anything else.

Remain Calm -- When you’re co-parenting, all that matters is your children. That means even your own feelings need to be put aside. You can’t let your hurt and anger towards your ex reflect in your behaviors and actions towards your children.

You will need to find a different outlet like in a confidante, a therapist or even a pet to vent out your emotions. Accepting the fact that your relationship is over is one thing, but to handle the emotions that comes with it is another. You have to be careful not to let them out on your children

Focus -- Always root back to what is the priority. From now on, everything is in your children’s best interest. If you feel you are overwhelmed with work stress or by your own emotions, reel yourself back in and retrace your steps so your actions will be directed towards the benefits of your children.

It's a Business Now -- You're no longer romantically involved with your ex but you still need to stay in touch with him or her to discuss anything relating to your children. This can be very difficult especially if your divorce was an ugly one.

Start by being mature and yes, professional too. Treat your ex like you would a colleague at work. Your business with your ex now is your children. Fashion how you talk to your ex and write your communications with your ex in a business-like manner i.e. in a neutral and respectful way. This can keep you from being emotionally carried away with what you want or have to say


You and Your Ex – Make a good team even if not together

It’s hard to stay in touch with the last person you want to see on Earth. Even if you parted in good faith, seeing your ex can bring up a lot of resentments, hurt and anger when you meet. Both of you need to be very careful not to let these emotions show in front of your children.

Kids can react in so many different ways towards a divorce and seeing their parents fight can worsen the situation for them. Many kids blame themselves for their parents’ divorce so you don’t want to give this impression to them for it can damage them as an individual as well as retard their development.

It's about the kids -- Whenever the two of you have to meet, you need to put up a brave front and a happy face for the sake of the children. This is important because the children need to know that despite not being together, the both of you still love them as much and that both of you are caring for them still.

Keep all your conversations with your ex about the kids. Be careful not to let yourself or your ex bring up anything else like your different parenting styles, the problems he or she faced with the children’s new behavior or his or her needs and feelings about the custody arrangements, for example. Have your conversation about solving the issues you’re facing via email or telephone calls or, if you can handle it, meeting up personally.

Establish general rules and discipline -- It’s hard enough for your children to have to go back and forth between two households without having to live under so many different rules from different homes.

Have a thorough discussion with your ex about establishing a set of general guidelines that are similar in both households. It’s quite impossible to have the same set of rules so choose to settle on the important things like homework, do’s and don’ts and curfews and follow through in both homes.

Exercise the same reprimand system for both homes like taking away TV privilege if curfew is not adhered. This goes the same for schedule and routine like mealtimes and bedtimes. This way, it can help the children to acclimatize to both parents are still on the same page even though they are not in the same home.

This also helps in avoiding the children to favorite one parent over the other and use it as weapon to get away with something when at the other parent’s house.

Never use children as messanger -- The reason you are no longer with your spouse is probably because the both of you find it extremely hard to agree on anything. It is, therefore, understandable for you to find it equally hard to still have to talk to him or her after the divorce.

But since you still need to talk to your ex, you shouldn’t get your children to be the messengers to what you want to say to your ex just so you don’t have to speak to him or her. Saying mean things about your ex or badmouthing him or her in the presence of your children in hopes that they will pass it on to your ex is also a very unhealthy habit.

You may do this out of your resentment to your ex but it damages the children’s faith in their parents and you unconsciously undermine the other parent’s authority. Do not bring your ex down in front of your children and never use them as the tool to get what you want or to derive satisfaction of not having to talk to your ex.

Parenting after divorce is not easy but it is not impossibly difficult to achieve. Both you and your ex need to treat each other with respect and be mature about the situation. You need to put whatever that has happened between the two of you, no matter how painful it was, behind you.

Always try to communicate in the most civil way for your children’s best interest and put everything else aside.

With a lot of patience, tolerance, compromise and respect, co-parenting can be something you will be good at.