As a parent, co-parenting after a separation or divorce is never easy, but it is the best way to ensure that your kids’ needs are met and enable them to retain close relationships with both parents. The quality of the relationship between co-parents can also have a strong influence on the mental and emotional well-being of children and the incidence of anxiety and depression.
The divorce process can be an emotionally devastating experience, and, on the practical side, the financial and legal strains can be a major source of stress. But approaching divorce with the right advice and support can help you turn the experience into a chance for personal growth and development, so you can look to the future with realistic optimism.
While joint custody arrangements can be exhausting, infuriating, and fraught with stress, especially if you have a contentious relationship with your ex-partner, you need to focus on supporting your child in making shared decisions for the sake of your kids’ well-being. Follow these guidelines to make the transition from divorce and the process of family restructuring and rebuilding easier for you and your children.
While no divorce can ever be said to be “perfect,” there are ways to make it easier. To achieve a healthy divorce, there are a few things that you can do. Here are a few of them.
Work as a parental team
Be prepared to have a difficult discussion with your kids about your divorce. Answer their questions and be a solid team parental unit for them. Writing a parenting plan with your kids’ best interests as the central focus will help you move forward and co-parent.
Identify the obstacles
One of the most significant barriers to effective co-parenting is negative emotions, such as anger, resentment, and jealousy. Allow yourself time to grieve the death of your marriage and get the help that you need to work through your emotions.
Don’t deny or try to stuff down how you are feeling; instead, acknowledge and recognize your emotions, but also realize that they can hamper you in your co-parenting role after divorce. In the process, you can try to compartmentalize your feelings while you deal with them for the sake of finding the best co-parenting solution for your children.
Set aside anger
You will no doubt be feeling a lot of different emotions when you are going through a divorce. Many of these emotions may be very negative. Do your best to stay positive when communicating with your ex. This is especially important if you have children together. Move the focus off of your failed relationship, and focus on how you can work together to raise your children.
Don’t take the stress out on the kids
Children take time to fully accept their parents’ decisions, file for a divorce, or become separated; however, this does not mean that they should be kept in the dark. The more you hide the situation from them, the more they’ll feel like it’s their fault or start shutting you out and indulging in the wrong activities and habits. Children usually sense when there is something wrong in the family environment, so it’s best to provide reassurance and create a safe space for communication.
Another helpful pointer is to not hide away your feelings; instead, teach them to learn to express how to feel when someone is upset and understand what the other person is going through. Acknowledging your kids’ feelings also helps them feel safe and appreciated. Studies have shown significant and healthy acceptance in those whose parents took every feeling seriously rather than those who were neglected or abandoned.