A divorce is an extremely stressful, upsetting and disruptive process for all involved. Yet, whatever differences cause a couple to become estranged, there’s one thing upon which they can always agree… Their number one priority is mitigating the effects on their kids. However much enmity can occur at the end of a relationship, this pales in comparison to the parental instinct to do right by one’s children. With this in mind, even those undergoing a bitter divorce are amenable to the notion of effective co-parenting.
Let’s take a look at some practical tips on co-parenting after your marriage is terminated...
Set your feelings aside
We realize that this is far, far easier said than done. However, in order to successfully co-parent, all divorced spouses must, to some extent compartmentalize their emotions. If you don’t have something nice to say to or about your ex, simply don’t say anything.
If you have trouble finding the perspective necessary to do this simply focus on your child / children and the love you have for them. Everything else is just a footnote.
Don’t put your kids in the middle
Kids can get over a divorce pretty easily when both parents demonstrate a willingness to put their differences aside and raise them collaboratively. Putting them in the middle of your feud, however, can only traumatize them.
As cathartic as it may be to you to explain to them all the reasons why your ex is a scumbag, they most certainly won’t benefit from that information. Again, if you can’t say anything nice about them, don’t say anything about them. Don’t pass messages through your kids, don’t use them as your spies to find out what your ex is up to and don’t make them feel as though they have to choose between you.
You and your ex might not be together, but your kids will always have you both.
Keep emotion out of your communication
As unpalatable as it may seem, you can’t co-parent effectively without maintaining some level of communication with your ex. And it can be extremely difficult to keep emotion out of your communications. Yet, as satisfying as it may be to start an email to them with the words “Dear Pig,” this can only exacerbate the situation between you and impact negatively on your child’s wellbeing.
Keep your written, verbal and personal communications with your ex as business-like as possible. Be polite and amenable where you can, and pare your communications down to the bare minimum where you can’t.
If you can’t handle being around your ex, use a mediator
If, despite your best efforts, you find it too emotionally difficult to be around your ex, or even to communicate with them over the phone or via email, there’s no shame in admitting that you need a helping hand. A mediator can work collaboratively with both parties towards a common goal… Doing what’s best for your children.
How we can help
We offer a host of mediation services for newly estranged couples and parents going through divorce. Together we can work towards a peaceful and mutually beneficial resolution and allow time to heal the wounds made in the relationship.
Contact us today to arrange a consultation.