Divorce is an emotionally fraught time, and can be even more complicated when there are children involved. Having children together means that you and your ex will be in each other's lives forever. It's best for both you and your children to try to form a healthy and positive co-parenting relationship from the get-go. Here are six tips for doing just that:
Agree to Keep Things Positive
Your children are probably having a difficult enough time processing the fact that their parents are no longer married. Bad mouthing each other will only make things harder for them, making them feel guilty and confused about still loving their other parent.
The best way to nip this tendency in the bud is to call or sit down with your ex and make an agreement to keep things positive. Agree that neither of you will resort to saying negative things about each other to your children. In addition to making things easier for your children, you may find that it's easier to move on from your divorce if you aren't overly focused on all the things you dislike about your ex.
Never Use Your Kids as Messengers
A common pitfall of divorce is to use your children to pass messages to each other. The reasoning behind this is that you're no longer especially comfortable speaking to your ex and your kids are going to see them anyway. The problem with this method of communication is that it's overly passive and puts your kids in an awkward position.
In order to successfully co-parent you will need to learn to communicate clearly and directly with your ex. This slows your kids' time with each parent to be more fun and lighthearted since they don't have the burden of passing on potentially dramatic messages.
Make the Most of Your Time with Your Kids
Instead of spending your time worrying about your ex and the time they're spending with your children, it's a good idea for you each to focus on your own time with the kids. If each parent does so your kids will get to enjoy quality time with both of you. Make sure your time together includes fun activities like trips to the park or the zoo, but also includes time spent on homework and just hanging out together as a family.
Counseling after a divorce can be very helpful, for both you and the kids. Instead of venting to your children about your ex, you can instead vent to a professional who will help guide you through the process in an emotionally healthy manner.
Children of divorce are seven times more likely to experience depression. In order to help avoid this, it's a good idea to seek a children's therapist who can help your kids talk through their complicated feelings about the divorce in a neutral setting.
Keep Communication Open but Limited
While it's important to have open and direct communication with your ex, it's equally important to limit the scope of this communication. In order to maintain healthy boundaries, try to keep your conversations limited to just the children. Discussing other personal matters can make your relationship feel too muddled and make it harder to move on.
Provide Structure and Routine
Divorce often feels disruptive to children, as though their whole world has been shaken up. You and your ex can help counteract this feeling by joining forces to provide as much structure and routine as possible. When your children see that you and your ex are consistent about things like visitation times and homework, they will start to relax and feel more stable.
By following these tips, you will be able to more easily navigate the complications of co-parenting with your former spouse. Check out sites like http://www.hartlawofficespc.net for information on the legal aspects of co-parenting.