Parents who are divorcing must learn how to navigate the new parenting relationship and they need to figure out how to help the children. This can be a challenging time for everyone involved. However, there are some ways that you can lessen the difficulties.
The most important thing is to remember that your children come first. The tension between you and your ex should be put aside to help the kids. While you can’t control how the other parent handles things, you can control what you do.
Open communication is necessary
Your children shouldn’t have to censor what they say to either parent as long as they are being respectful. Even if you don’t want to hear much about it, they are going to want to discuss what happens with the other parent. Listen carefully to what they are saying and be prepared to work with the children to help them deal with their emotions.
If you notice anything that is putting the child’s safety in jeopardy, discuss that with your attorney and not the children. Your ex is still the children’s parent and your kids need to be able to talk about their memories freely.
Speak directly to your ex
Avoid using your children as messengers. They shouldn’t be expected to relay important messages or be privy to the challenges of co-parenting. Instead, speak directly to your ex. By taking the middle man out, you can ensure that everything is being relayed accurately. Emails, text messages and phone calls are easy ways for direct communication when face-to-face options aren’t possible.
Make joint events pleasant
Many events are going to bring both parents together to support the children. These must be pleasant experiences for the kids. Set some clear guidelines for what is allowable at these events. Never bring up contentious issues or argue during the activity. Communicate about these events so that everyone know what is going on. Relay the date, time, location and any other specific information necessary.
Mutual respect is a must for the parenting relationship. You and your ex shouldn’t ever belittle each other, no matter whom you are speaking to. Children can decipher many negative comments and might start to feel the tension of having parents who don’t respect each other. If your children are around family members, be sure they all know that saying bad things about either parent won’t be tolerated.