You often hear the phrase, “for the sake of the kids.” And yes, as a parent, you’ll do everything, even co-parent with your ex, for your little ones. If you see eye to eye, co-parenting won’t be much of a stretch. You’ve done it before, and you can do it again, only under a different setup. But, if you come from a less-than-amicable divorce, co-parenting can be a huge challenge. Can you handle it?
The legal aspect is one thing, and the family dynamics, another. Self-help books and websites of law firms, such as MatthewsFamilyLawyers.com, offer several insights in dealing with both. Following an unfriendly parting, how can you cope with co-parenting?
Make an Agreement
May it be a formal document or a verbal agreement, you have to make one to make sure you put your problems behind you while co-parenting. Sit down and talk them over, and agree to have your children as your top priority. It doesn’t have to end with a hug; you just have to reach a clear resolution.
Schedule your weekends, and determine who’ll go to PTA meetings this month and in the next. If you can’t do it face-to-face, have your attorneys help you with drafting an official agreement. If your ex can’t be accountable to you, he or she has to at least be accountable to the law and the children.
Keep the Kids Out of Your Issues
By default, the kids are already in the situation. But, they don’t have to be the receiving end of your anger towards your estranged spouse, so don’t take it out on them. You may not do so directly, but you may make them feel the tension when you’re talking negatively about their other parent. This can strain their relationship with your estranged spouse and pressure them to take sides.
A tension-filled setup, even in the absence of the other parent, is stressful for young children. Let them enjoy your company, and your ex’s, separately and at peace. Don’t drag them to your issues.
Some divorces are messier than others, so there may be a lot of shoving and backbiting following the legal process. While this may be the case, you’ll still need to talk things over for the sake of the kids. To do so, show restraint. No matter how much the other person tries to push you to the edge, remember that the arrangement is for the children’s best interests.
Co-parenting is a long process, and it can be emotionally exhausting if the divorce didn’t end well. But, you don’t stop being parents after it has happened. So, try to have a civil co-parenting arrangement for the sake of the kids.