Divorce is never easy. When there are kids involved, it can be even harder. You want to be a loving parent and a good co-parent with your ex, but you might be at a loss at how to begin after the pain of the separation has hit home. Knowing how to co-parent successfully is not an instinctual thing; you have to put in the effort.
The good news is that with effort and dedication, you can absolutely have a successful co-parenting relationship with your ex and a thriving, nurturing relationship with your children.
Be Flexible and Accessible
Being flexible and accessible is incredibly important. While it can be easy to want the other parent to mold to your schedule, remember that everyone is trying to do their best (at least, give them the benefit of the doubt). Being emotionally flexible and accessible to your ex is an important trait as a co-parent. Your mental health – and that of your kids – will benefit from this availability, and your ex will appreciate it, whether he or she tells you or not.
Speak Positively About Your Co-Parent
Make your children feel loved and protected – and free to love their other parent. Don’t let them feel like they have to choose between the two of you, and assure them that they are loved by both parents and always will be. Always speak well of your ex – he or she is your children’s parent and authority figure as well, and in order for your kids to have a healthy view of relationships, you have to treat your ex with understanding regardless of how you feel.
Foster Emotional Well-Being For Everyone In the Family
Depression after divorce can be all too real, and emotional health is essential to a balanced life. Here’s the thing: you might not be romantically involved with your co-parent now, but you are linked through your child or children forever. Take that as a positive thing – you can work towards having a healthy friendship with your former partner in order to foster emotional well-being in the whole family. Your children will be affected by how their parents treat each other, so make an effort to treat your ex with respect. Good communication is necessary for any sustainable relationship, so make it a priority whether you feel like it or not. It will make it easier for everyone.
Combat Alienation Together
Both of you have a key role in your children’s lives, so don’t downplay your co-parent’s value. While it won’t be a pain-free experience, deep loneliness can be prevented by having good communication with your ex and supporting your children’s relationships with your co-parent. Parental alienation can be a heart-breaking thing for children, but you can take steps to prevent this from happening in your family’s case. It’s well worth the effort.
Helping Your Family Thrive In Co-Parenting Arrangements
Whatever your differences are in other areas, you and your ex have the same goal when it comes to your children: nurturing them and giving them a beautiful, healthy childhood that jump-starts a thriving life. You don’t have to be best friends with your ex to have a wonderful co-parenting relationship that promotes your kids’ well-being, and a little more work now can yield wonderful results in the future.
Monica is a passionate writer and content creator. Her interests include outdoor activities, fitness, technology, entrepreneurship and everything in between. Say hi to Monica on Twitter @monical_lee.