After a divorce, your emotions are like a rollercoaster. Emotions are high and the very last thing you want to do is be the sensible or mature one. Divorce is the death of your marriage and like any death, you will likely go through the stages of grief like anger and shock. After all, who wants to start over in their 40s? Geez. Although the natural tendency may be to be petty and uncompromising, hopefully you will get to a place of acceptance and remember the bigger picture, your children!
I will be unequivocally honest. It’s not easy co-parenting, but my main concern has always been to buffer as much as I could the harmful effects of divorce. I learned that from my own upbringing. I saw my father and mother co-parent and the term didn’t even exist back then. They were amicable with each other and some may even say friends at times, so I always draw back to that time and think about how it helped me and my siblings.
Below I share 5 co-parenting skills that have been working for my family. It’s been several years now, and I have seen drastic improvement in my daughters’ emotional development and happiness. The good news is it’s much like the parenting skills you were probably doing before the divorce.
Consistency is key
Follow the visitation schedule as much as possible. I’m not saying you can’t be flexible and swap weekends but keeping a consistent visitation schedule is important because their routine has already been disrupted. Also, try and create a united front when it comes to internet time, social media, snacks, discipline, et cetera. Even though you live separately, try and play on the same team. Kids are smart. You want to teach them that they can’t take advantage of either parent playing them against each other.
Put your children’s interest first
This can be challenging if you are a person who likes to always be in control. Remember to push your children’s needs to the forefront and put away petty concerns. That sort of honesty and vulnerability will protect them from a breeding ground of unhealthy emotions and behavior.
Do not use the kids as Facebook messenger
You do not want your children playing advocate or picking sides. What an awful position to put them in. They love both their parents. And I totally understand not wanting to have constant contact with your ex, but there are so many creative ways nowadays to communicate. You have texting, email, court recommended apps like Family Wizard. You don’t have to see your ex. Just don’t put your children in the middle especially when it comes to financial matters.
Speak positively about your ex
And make sure your children do the same. This is a rough time for everyone involved. Try and help them understand what your ex might be going through in the transition. Encourage being kind and compassionate. Of course, this does not apply to abuse. Children are not your best friends or sounding board. If you want to vent, you heard the old saying, write it down.
This one is a hard one and a virtue. Some days you feel like you are being stretched in every direction but yelling creates the opposite of what you intend to create. Research shows that yelling at your children creates a feeling of rejection and as a result low self-esteem. When you feel yourself erupting, try and find a place to get away from the situation and calm down.
These are just some of the skills I have found to be beneficial and with everything, it will take time to master each one, but I encourage you that you will get there!
What coparenting skills would you add to this list? Please, comment below!
Health and happiness. . .
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