Barring certain extreme situations, children benefit by knowing and having relationships with both their parents. For this reason, many people choose to continue co-parenting following a separation or divorce.
Working together with a child’s other parent, especially after a divorce, may bring challenges. However, taking certain steps may help parents to make co-parenting a positive experience for them and their families.
Encourage children to express their feelings
According to Psychology Today, when going through a divorce of their parents, children may experience an array of emotions. Rather than simply trying to assuage their children’s concerns, parents may find it helpful to let their kids express themselves and their feelings. Allowing them to do so may help them experience important parts of life and understand that they should embrace how they feel and know such strong emotions will eventually pass.
Do not involve the kids in conflicts
When sending kids back and forth between homes, it may seem convenient to have children pass messages from one parent to the other. The types of issues parents may need to inform each other about after a divorce may carry more weight and complexities than children should deal with, though. Parents may best serve their interests and those of their children by refraining from burdening their children by making them go-betweens or talking to them about legal agreements they do not need to understand.
Use positive or neutral terms to talk about the other parent
According to an article published in The Oprah Magazine, when working to co-parent, people should refrain from badmouthing or otherwise speaking in negative terms about the other parents in front of their kids. Doing so may serve to teach their children to act disrespectfully and even affect their children’s images of self-worth.
Keep the children as the focus
When disagreements arise, parents may easily fall into focusing on what broke them up as a couple. However, thinking of their new relationship as more of a business arrangement where all decisions emphasize the children’s needs and interests may help people transition into this new phase and better work together.