5 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce

Divorce is never easy on anyone, but it’s effects can linger in children for a lifetime if the situation isn’t handled properly. No matter what type of custody or visitation arrangement you have with your former spouse – or what your personal feelings are about each other – successful co-parenting is essential for helping your children adjust.

1. Never speak badly about your ex around the children. This should go without saying, but too many adults use their children as pawns to get back at their ex, or as sounding boards. If you need to vent, talk to a therapist or start keeping a journal, but always remember that your ex is still your child’s parent, and hurting your ex also hurts your children.

2. Remember who’s really important. Divorce is very personal and emotionally draining, and you’ll need some time to heal. Just consider that, while your marriage may have ended, your child is suffering as well. They are neither a possession to be acquired, nor an equal who you can unload on. They only have one childhood, and it’s up to you to see that it’s full of happy memories.

3. Pick and choose your battles. Sharing holidays and birthdays, disagreements about parenting decisions and discipline are just a few of the problems that can derail successful co-parenting. Big decisions, like moving out of state or choosing a school are major issues that need to be settled amicably. Food choices, your child’s friends or bedtime are not.

4. Give your children to opportunity to feel heard. Many times we get so wrapped up in how we feel – or we don’t want make things worse – so we don’t notice if our child is suffering, or we simply don’t know how to help them. The best thing you can do as a parent is to allow your child to express their feelings – even if it makes you uncomfortable – and let them know that they are heard and acknowledged.

5. Be flexible. This can also tie back to picking your battles. As a parent you should have already earned that things happen that you have no control over. Don’t lose it if you go to pick your child up and he or she is late because of an even at school or a transportation issue.

If you’re considering divorce, or you need a change in custody or support order after your divorce, it helps to contact a lawyer who specializes in such issues. Law firms like Cordell & Cordell specialize in representing men who are going through a divorce or separation. Getting the advice of a legal professional will help protect your financial and parental interests at any step of the proceedings.

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