Divorce is difficult for everyone in the family. The breakup means there will now be separate lives and households and new responsibilities. Your first priority as a divorced parent, however, is to help your child adjust to the changed circumstances as easily as possible. You and your former spouse can make this happen if you have a good co-parenting plan in place.
The essential elements
When it comes to spending both quality time and essential time with your child, you are going to cut down on stress and frustration if you know how things like school activities, medical care, holidays and vacations will be managed. You should establish financial responsibilities for each parent, a system for sharing information and a timetable for evaluating how your child is adapting to the new lifestyle. Effective co-parenting means setting up a schedule that works for both you and your ex, one that keeps your child safe and sure of your love and on track for growing up happily and confidently. If, as co-parents, you can cooperate in following your plan, you will avoid having to go to court to solve disputes.
When you use strategic problem-solving, you look at specific co-parenting issues. Social-psychological problem-solving refers to helping your ex understand child-rearing concerns from an emotional point of view; that is, using compassion and empathy. In any case, you need to establish a line of communication, whether it be by phone, email, texting or in-person conversations.
You and your former spouse should set down rules to enforce in both households, such as consistent times for meals, homework and going to bed. Respect should be top of mind; do not allow your child to disparage the other parent. Keep the conversation positive. Also, keep in mind that having fun is fine, but doing ordinary things is part of life. Routine is very important to a child. Studies show that children react positively to a unified parenting approach and grow up with a greater sense of well-being. Of course, kids will test the boundaries you set, but remember there is strength in the united front you establish with your ex.
When issues arise
Do not let any problems you are having with your former spouse overflow into the life of your child. Remain calm and neutral if your child relates stories about the other parent that set your teeth on edge. Do not let any guilt you have over the divorce lead to overindulgence; just stick to the rules of the plan you have in place. However, if co-parenting issues begin to pile up, you may need help from an outside source. Remember that you can turn for advice and support to an attorney experienced in family law.