The first step to becoming a competent co-parent is to put your child’s needs ahead of your own. Research shows that children who have had equal time with both their mother and father grew into adults who had higher self-confidence and fewer trust issues. Children can benefit from guidance and advice from both parents. It is extremely important to put aside your personal feelings about your ex-partner and encourage your child to have a healthy relationship with the other parent. Kids are hyper sensitive to the tone of voice you use, mannerisms, and unkind words when one parent talks about another so it is important to maintain a positive and encouraging demeanor.
Going from one household to another on a consistent basis is stressful enough for a child. There may be times when it seems as if your child doesn’t want to spend time with you but don’t despair. This is a child’s natural reaction to their changing circumstances. This makes it extremely important for you to work with your ex to create a consistent reliable timesharing schedule so that it provides your child with a sense of security. Having a set schedule also eliminates the potential for the child to feel the need to have to choose between either parent. Working with your ex to select the child’s school, extra-curricular activities, and social engagements, provide the child with a predictable daily schedule which provides a much-needed sense of security during and after the divorce.
One of the keys to helping your child transition between households is to keep them informed of upcoming activities so they know what to expect. Remind the kids ahead of time when they will be going to the other parent’s house or which parent will be taking them to their scheduled activities. It may also be helpful to create an online calendar that either parent can add to and allow the child to review the calendar whenever they want. This way the child can see which parent will be taking them to certain activities or if one parent has a special activity planned. It is also important for you to show enthusiasm about activities that the other parent has planned with the child. This allow your child to feel comfortable with discussing the activities they do with the other parent and not feel the need to hide anything from you.
After a divorce, many children often feel as if they are responsible for their parents’ happiness. Children sometimes feel the need to side with one parent over the other which can cause a rift in their relationship with the other parent. It is extremely important for parents to demonstrate a cooperative and polite attitude when co-parenting. Although it may seem difficult during or right after a divorce, it is important to respect your ex as your child’s parent and to demonstrate to your child that you hold that respect for their parent. If you show your child that you harbor anything but respect for the other parent, this could have a negative impact on their relationship with that parent or even in your own relationship with the child.
Rebuilding your life after divorce may seem like an insurmountable task but this is one of the best ways to help your child adjust to life after divorce. Although you may still be grieving from the end of your marriage, keeping your child out of the middle of the conflicts with your ex will have a huge impact on how they heal from the divorce. It is important to keep in mind that the lessons your children learn in the aftermath of your divorce will have a lasting impact on your child. Children who feel loved and supported by both parents will have an easier time adjusting to their lives after their parents’ divorce.
If you have a legal question about co-parenting in Broward, Palm Beach or Miami Dade feel free to call the divorce attorneys at Schantz & Schantz for a consultation.