Custody arrangements can seem overwhelming, especially if parents have gone through a contentious divorce. Angry and hurtful feelings can linger. However, prioritizing your children’s best interests can help you move on.
Successful co-parenting isn’t defined as having a happy and cheerful time with your ex. Instead, it’s often more about putting aside past disagreements to develop a civil and possibly cordial new relationship for the sake of your kids.
Benefits of a child-focused approach
Children of divorced parents can thrive in their new reality when mom and dad cooperate despite their differences. When this happens, children:
- Feel more secure knowing both parents love them
- Know what’s expected when parents are on the same page over discipline and rewards
- Develop better problem-solving skills of their own
- Succeed in future relationships due to the positive example set by their parents
- Are emotionally and mentally healthier
Parents need to reinforce that they remain one family despite the fact they live in two households.
Four co-parenting tips to achieve a peaceful future
To help you create a child-focused strategy, consider these thoughts:
- It’s not about you: While bitter feelings towards an ex may be justified, parents should never put kids in the middle of any dispute. Those feelings must take a back seat to your kids’ needs.
- Communicate: When talking to your ex, always focus on the most important thing – your children’s best interests. If you don’t respect your former spouse, take a business-like approach, make requests instead of demands and try to listen to their perspective without getting angry.
- Be part of a team: Although you are no longer married, you are forever connected. Work together to establish and enforce rules and create a consistent and loving atmosphere.
- Ease transitions: Constantly going from one household to another can be a trying experience for children. Always stay positive, help them prepare when it’s time to go to the other parent’s house and give them some space and keep a low-key approach when they return.
If possible, parents should always drop off their children and never pick them up. This helps avoid the feeling that one parent is taking them from the other. Cordially interacting with the other parent at drop-offs also helps normalize this new routine.
The bottom line is that taking these steps can help you stay calm and consistent and peacefully resolve parenting issues. Your goal is to create an atmosphere where your kids thrive. Many times, it brings a bonus where parents forge a positive new relationship.