Going through a divorce when you have children can be a traumatic experience. As parents, your primary focus has to be making sure the kids have what they need while this transition occurs. One way you can do this – provided that your child’s other parent is a fit parent – is to co-parent in ways that genuinely allow both parents to remain active participants in their lives.
Co-parenting isn’t always easy. There are going to be times when the challenges might seem overwhelming, but if you keep your focus on what’s best for the children, it will be more manageable than it would otherwise be.
1. Create a workable parenting plan early
Getting your parenting plan set early is important because it provides the stability that your children need. As you create the plan, be sure that you don’t overlook smaller details that could make a big difference, like how your kids will be transported from house to house. Also, be sure to include information about who makes what decisions for the children and how conflicts will be handled.
2. Communicate directly
You and your ex must communicate directly with each other. Try to keep these messages short and to the point. They should all revolve around the children. Always avoid sending messages through the children because messages might not be relayed properly and your kids may become stressed at the reality of being placed in the middle of you both in this way.
3. Remain a parenting team
You and your ex must remain a parenting team. Children who see parents working together are less likely to try to play one parent against the other. Seeing this teamwork may also help them to feel more secure about how things will work now.
4. Focus on the positives
There are almost always positives that you can focus on. Doing this can help your children to learn how to look for the good too. One way to do this is to create new traditions that they can look forward to. These don’t have to expensive or highly involved. Something as simple as watching a movie and baking brownies can be something fun to do on the first day the kids are with you.
5. Modify the plan as necessary
As your children mature and their needs change, your parenting plan may need to change with it. Working with someone who understands the circumstances that your family is facing may help you to find creative solutions that are suitable for your unique situation.