Co-parenting in even the toughest situations
By putting the needs of their children first, divorced parents can learn some new ways to work together to raise their kids.
New Yorkers who get divorced while their children are still young may have many years ahead of them before they no longer have to interact on a regular basis. Co-parenting is an art unto itself and certainly is not easy for most people.
After all, if a couple could not find a way to remain married, it is not reasonable to think that working together as parents after a divorce would be any easier. However, the kids require this and therefore parents must find ways to step up to the co-parenting plate and do their best.
Where should I start?
Focus on the Family suggests that perhaps one of the best things a divorced parent can do is to keep the big picture and the goal consciously in mind at all time. That goal is children that are emotionally healthy and who have strong bonds with both of their parents. With this as a guiding post, parents may be able to make the sometimes tough choices of what to let go of.
How friendly do I have to be?
Co-parents do not have to be best friends, they simply need to work together effectively toward their common goal. In this way, co-parenting may be thought of like any other professional relationship. In fact, adopting a business-like demeanor may well help people to weather some tough times as co-parents because they may be more able to keep their emotions in check.
How can we manage exchanging the kids?
If seeing either other tends to open the door to conflict, finding ways to avoid this is recommended. One idea from CafeMom is to essentially use school or another activity as a place for exchanging kids. One parent might drop the kids off and the other parent can pick up. This way the kids get where they need to without the parents having to interact in person.
What if my ex allows things I don’t like?
GoodTherapy.org says that co-parents should reduce their parental expectations of each other and instead put their energies toward making positive time with the kids when they are together. It may help to think of how the kids might view a situation as well in order to best know what to do to help the children.
What happens if I need help?
There are many resources for parents but one essential place to start is with an attorney as soon as a divorce begins. This will let moms and dads alike have access to the right guidance when decisions about parenting time and other things are being made.