Divorce is difficult and life changing. And that’s just about you and your feelings. Let’s not forget your children’s experience and their feelings. The idea you will become a part time parent now and sharing your children with their other parent and can be quite an adjustment.
Research has shown it is important for children of all ages to have an ongoing relationship with both of their parents during and after the divorce process. Having a relationship with both parents shapes your children’s ongoing relationships, educational experiences, self-esteem as well as attachment styles and conflict resolution approaches.
The World of Co-Parenting
- You are the parent and they are the child, even teens and adult children. The divorce is between the parents. Please do not give your children details about the end of the marriage or of the divorce process. Do not blame the other parent for the divorce or for things that go wrong in your life.
- Encourage your children to spend their planned time with their other parent. Get them to the parenting exchange location. Listen to their concerns and empathize with them but encourage them to see their other parent. Help them to smoothly make these transitions.
- Do not say bad things about the other parent… or their relatives… or their friends. Be careful when you are on the phone and can be overheard. Those laundry room vents lead to other parts of the house and conversations can be overheard.
- Do realize that they have two homes now not just one. Do let them take items to their other home as long as they can carry them back and forth.
- Do let them love both of you and see each of you as much as possible! Be flexible even when it is not part of the regular schedule.
Co-Parenting by Example
Co-parent by example, treat the other parent as you wish to be treated. Stay focused on the business of co-parenting and keeping your children’s best interests in mind rather than focusing on your own emotions and personal experiences. With this approach you will find a more positive co-parenting experience as a foundation for future growth.
Posted by Donna L Moore, LCSW