Divorce is an emotional experience for everyone. Both the spouses ending their marriage and the children witnessing the divorce will struggle with their feelings. Unlike divorces between childless people, divorces with families that have children can have messier outcomes.
In other words, it is impossible for either spouse to just walk away and never see their ex again. Shared custody or co-parenting will necessitate that this divorced couple continues to maintain a relationship indefinitely.
Thankfully, with a little bit of effort, you can avoid some of the most common parenting mistakes that people make after a divorce. That includes finding a way to support your ex as you co-parent together.
Don’t try to be a friend instead of a parent
In times of conflict, it’s normal for people to want to feel like they are winning or in the right. In a divorce, the attitude of the children involved can have a profound impact on the parents. Mom or dad may hope to come across as the victim or as the cool parent.
Victim parents may discuss things with their children that they should not, such as unpaid child support. Cool parents, on the other hand, will likely avoid bringing up anything emotional in favor of bribing their children via attention and expensive gifts.
Being a permissive parent in the wake of a divorce won’t make your children like you any better or help them adjust. What it will do is undermine your authority as a parent and make things even harder when you try to settle back down into normalcy.
Don’t battle with your ex over every little detail
Have you thought about calling the cops to get your ex in trouble because they showed up late for a custody drop off? Do you pick fights and arguments over every discrepancy and issue between your parenting styles? Not only is that adding way more stress and complexity to your life than you need, but it is likely also taking a toll on the children.
During the divorce, you have the opportunity to create a parenting plan that reflects your wishes for your children and household rules. Work with your ex to set terms that you can agree to uphold at your individual homes. That helps ensure that rules and expectations remain consistent for your children, which makes it easier for your kids to adjust.
A thorough parenting plan also makes parenting easier for you, because you won’t have to worry about whether the rules are different than the rules at your ex’s. When in doubt, the best strategy is always to put the best needs of your children first. Avoiding conflict and working together with your ex aren’t easy to do after a divorce. However, finding a way to do so benefits not just you, but also your children.