At first glance, co-parenting can seem like an impossible feat – especially if you seem to have endless disagreements with your former spouse or partner.
For the sake of your children and as a part of your parental responsibility, it is best to face this new lifestyle head-on and do everything you can to make it work. Once you open your mind and heart to it, you might even realize that it isn’t that bad after all. At the end of the day, it will serve as a huge advantage for you, your children, and your ex.
Also called shared parenting or joint parenting, co-parenting is that experience of raising children while being single parents at the event of a divorce or separation. Indeed, child rearing after divorce can be complex and traumatic for the parties concerned, especially when there are minors involved. For most couples, the biggest challenge is having to deal with the seperation’s mental and emotional effects on children. To make co-parenting a more positive and productive experience, here are some tips to ponder:
1. Look Forward to a Fresh Start
It is easy to get stuck in the past, especially when you seem to have years of not-so-good memories that you carry along with you. However, carrying that excess baggage will certainly not help you in the new life that you are trying to live.
You have to make a determined decision to move forward because there are some issues that are simply not resolvable at the moment and are better left as they are. You have to let go of things that you can’t do anything about, and instead focus on the present – making a brand new start.
As for your children, avoid thinking that your divorce has ruined their life forever. Again, there are some things that you can’t easily fix but providing them a more peaceful environment where parents do not fight as much could be better than parents who are together but are in constant conflict. In this new chapter of their life with you, they can spend quality time separately with each parent. Take advantage of this opportunity to start over again and embrace the perks that come with co-parenting.
2. Make it About Your Kids
Before making any major decisions, try to put any feelings of animosity aside and always think about the welfare of your children. Keep in mind that they are the innocent ones in this new family situation and didn’t expect for this to happen, so make an effort not to make them feel guilty for their choices or biases. Instead, make them feel and realize that they still have the loving support of both of their parents. Show them that despite the differences in the amount of time shared that your relationship with them is still secure and that they can still count on you. Encourage them to express their feelings regarding your separation and accept their views because they need your love and support at this time more than ever. Ultimately, let your love for your children reign over whatever negative feelings you have for your ex.
3. Encourage Mutual Respect
Now that you are separated, accept the fact that no matter what you do, you do not have control over your ex-spouse’s life and so there is no point in igniting the same arguments every time you see each other. As a parent, it is expected that you will be able to exemplify respectful and positive behavior. Later on, your children will get to see the strengths and weaknesses of each of their parents all on their own.
Moving forward constructively means choosing to put your past behind you while realizing that your future co-parenting days can be so much better if both of you can remain cordial and self-controlled in your words and actions especially in front of the kids.
Remember that communication is key, and with perseverance and patience, you will be able to reach that point of mutual respect for the individuality of your former partner.
4. Make Room for the New Mate
It is a big possibility that your ex will bring a new mate into the picture and working with instead of against this individual can make co-parenting easier to bear. It is expected that this new person will spend a significant amount of time with your children and it is important to clear the air for proper communication. It is definitely not going to be easy having to deal with somebody you consider to be a stranger coming into your family life, but for the best interest of your children, it is always worth a try. Verbalize what your expectations and concerns are when it comes to your children and express them in less defensive terms and ways. In this manner, you will also be helping your children make the transition as smooth as possible.
5. Seek an Expert
Negative emotions like resentment and jealousy, while in an overabundance at the start of a divorce, are actually major deterrents to efficient co-parenting. Give yourself time and space to grieve the end of your marriage and don’t hesitate to seek some extra help that you will need to work through these emotions.
If it’s high time for you both to devise a co-parenting plan but have no clue on what to do exactly, it is best to seek a professional to guide you through the process. While you are still hurting and at a point where both of you are unable to have a productive and calm conversation, meetings with a family mediator can guarantee productivity. It will also set the tone and perspective for everything that you will be doing with regards to your relationship as co-parents.
Assisting parents with the ups and downs of co-parenting is an important task that Seff & Capizzi Law Group takes seriously. At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients and provide valuable information for those that need assistance in understanding how to approach this particular situation in their own lives.
If you need assistance with your time-sharing schedule, please call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. Click here for more information about our family law practice and how Seff & Capizzi can help.