We read with interest a recent article that offers loads of advice for parents who are going to divorce or who have divorced. Co-parenting is not easy, but it is easily one of the most important jobs you will ever have.
No matter how you feel about your former spouse, or soon-to-be ex, it is always important to remember that the well-being of your children depends on your ability to establish and maintain a cordial co-parenting partnership with that person. He or she is the crucial other half of the parents your kids are depending on for stability and guidance.
Because the co-parenting article is lengthy, we're able to touch only on its highlights. For a more in-depth look, go here.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice offered is guidance that works both during the divorce proceedings and afterwards: don't put your kids in the middle of your disputes.
No matter how justified you are in having feelings of resentment or bitterness or anger, "remind yourself that they are your issues, not your child's."
Other advice from the article includes:
- Don't use your children to bear messages: tell your ex yourself about your thoughts, objections, observations, etc. Don't ask your kids to do it for you. Again, these are your issues and not theirs.
- Make requests, not statements or demands: requests begin with "Would you be willing to...?" Also useful: "Can we try...?"
- Keep conversations child-focused, you- or them-focused
- Ask for your ex's opinion: this can be a building block to a less confrontational or hostile relationship. It can be good to try this out on a subject on which you have no strong feelings. Ask for the ex's opinion; it helps show that their feelings have value.
It's smart to make use of available advice from friends, family, online sources and others on how to get through the difficulties of divorce. You can also sit down and talk with a family law attorney experienced in workable resolutions of difficult child custody disputes.