If you’ve recently gone through a divorce, you know it can be painful to watch your children emotionally struggle with their family’s new arrangement. Everything in their lives suddenly changes. It can be tough for a young person to understand why all of this is happening. It’s important to give them some extra love and attention during a transition like this. Thankfully, there are some additional actions you can take to help them adjust to co-parenting after divorce. Below is a list of tips and expert advice to help your child feel more secure with sharing time between both parents.
Tips for Co-Parenting After Divorce
- Open Lines of Communication: The very first thing you should do after the divorce is finalized is open the lines of communication with your ex. If you’re both communicating clearly and openly, it’ll make the adjustment much easier for your kids. Open communication helps to keep your co-parenting schedule on track and helps everyone to avoid conflict. Many divorced parents will commit to open communication by promising to touch base once or twice a week. Talking about the kids’ school schedules, disciplinary issues, sports events, academics, or social time can help you both contribute to their development instead of it falling on one parent’s shoulders.
- Never Communicate Through the Kids: In addition to opening the lines of communication, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean a line of communication through the children. Of course, small notes, like reminders to bring soccer shoes to school, are necessary and clearly non-threatening. But don’t make it a habit to start solely communicating through the kids when co-parenting after divorce. They can easily misconstrue messages. Plus, this behavior might lead them to believe there’s still heavy conflict between their parents.
- Separate Feelings and Actions: It’s no surprise that divorce is one of the most emotionally taxing experiences a person can go through. This is especially true when children are involved. However, in order to help your children adjust to co-parenting after divorce, it’s essential that you learn to separate your feelings from your actions. You have every right to feel angry, sad, or upset with your ex. But when you’re spending time with the children, positive and polite behavior will mean a lot to them. This also means treating your ex with respect when you’re together with the children. You don’t have to erase your feelings, but it’s important to express them at the right time and in the right place.
- Have a Set Schedule: The more stable your schedule is, the better it is for the children. Co-parenting after divorce can be difficult when it comes to time-sharing and setting schedules for holidays and vacations. But, it’s vital that kids have some form of steadiness in their day-to-day routines. Having steady routines helps them to feel more secure and balanced when it comes to adjusting to their new lifestyle. In addition, it helps you and your ex get on the same page as well.
- Prepare Them For Transitions Between Homes: The idea of living in two separate homes is probably one of the biggest adjustments kids will face after a divorce. This is especially true if the kids are young and can’t quite comprehend the motives behind the divorce. They only know that their family used to live in one place and now they don’t. Even if the children are only spending holidays or long weekends at the non-custodial parent’s home, it’s still important to prepare them for the changeup. A few days before they’re supposed to sleep at their other parent’s home, remind them about it. Take the time to prepare them for the transition and try to use positive and fun language when speaking to them about it.
- Listen to Your Kids: When co-parenting after divorce, it’s critical to simply listen to your children. It’s easy to forget to do this because divorcing couples have their own emotions and issues to work through. However, it’s essential to sit down and allow them to tell you how the divorce is affecting them. When they feel heard and acknowledged, it can help set the tone of the co-parenting relationship. They need to understand that they’re loved and this new arrangement will not change that.
For More Information on Co-parenting After Divorce
After a divorce, learning the proper ways to co-parent can take time. Parents need to adjust to the new living arrangements just as much as the children do. If you’d like more information on how to help your kids to adjust to your new lifestyle, contact a trustworthy divorce attorney for local resources and helpful tips. When it comes to divorce, they’re the experts. They can guide you in the right direction so you feel secure and comfortable moving forward with your co-parenting schedule.