Now that your divorce is almost final, it’s time to implement a co-parenting plan that puts the emphasis on your children. While you may wish to never speak to your ex-spouse again, he or she is still the parent of your children. In that role, your ex will have regular weekly, sometimes daily involvement. So, it’s important to focus your interactions on what’s best for your children.
Co-parenting is a child-centered way to parent after divorce. In this model, parents continue to communicate about issues, questions or concerns relating to the kids. You can meeting, have phone conversations or use email. In some cases, parents may not spend time on joint activities together. But the do attend birthday parties, school events and other special activities to make sure the child feels part of both parent’s lives.
The best co-parenting practices include being civil, respectful and child-focused during all communications about the kids. Look at it like running a business with your ex as your partner to raise the happiest, healthiest, most secure children. Operate with the other parent as a colleague with the goal of raising the happiest, healthiest kids. You can keep all conversations about anything other than the kids’ health, happiness and general well-being and development.
Co-parenting requires a willingness on both parent’s part to keep all the emotional baggage from the divorce out of their interactions and especially in the presence of the children. You may become angry and frustrated, but effective co-parents develop techniques to minimize the negative effects.
It is essential to separate the roles of an ex-husband and ex-wife from the roles as co-parents. And it’s quite an adjustment. If you have difficulty letting go of the negative issues that caused the divorce, then consider getting some counseling. This is a normal aftermath of divorce and there are many good therapists who can help you come to terms with it for your children’s sake.
If you view co-parenting as a business relationship, you can both agree on the common goal of raising your children in the most positive, calm and supportive environment possible. Kids who see Mom and Dad being civil and respectful of each other will adjust to the new routines much more quickly than those who experience ongoing hostility and anger.
Avoid asking personal questions, questions about finances that don’t apply to the children or about new relationships. If you do need to discuss a hot topic, do it when the children are not present. Make sure they can’t accidentally overhear a difficult telephone conversation.
Just remember that you’ll always be their parents; divorce doesn’t have to change that. You were both invested in the children during your marriage and that commitment remains.