Co-parenting can help your children adapt to your divorce and reduce the long term effects upon them. It is important as the parents that you find ways to work together regarding parenting issues and work to keep the best interest of children in mind. Some guidelines I used with the father of my children:
- Be courteous and respectful toward the other parent, a difficult concept but, more importantly, you do not talk about major issues or criticize each other in front of the kids.
- Benefit here is that your kids will see their parents not fighting (again), working together on something favorable for them.
- Do not make your kids your best friend, confidant, or sounding board. Use an adult friend, family member, or counselor. It is not up to your kids to be your therapist!
- Your kids are not your messengers or the “go betweens.” You and the other parent need to be one talking about the parenting issues.
- Let your kids know you will listen to them and how they are feeling. Give them opportunities for their input on some decisions that affect them directly.
- Always let your kids know you love them!
It is understandably “easier said than done” and communication was probably not always there with the other parent, but now you have an opportunity to help reverse some of those negative effects of your divorce.