Research tells us that over 1 million children in the U.S. are affected by divorce each year. A successful divorce, for lack of a better term, can be viewed as one in which the child isn’t forced to divorce one of the parents – either because of conflict among the parents or one parent not being available for the child.
What is co-parenting?
Essentially, co-parenting is a term used to describe a parenting partnership in which both parents are no longer romantically linked but continue to take joint responsibility for raising their child.
Of course, this definition is open to include people jointly raising a child, regardless if they’ve been involved romantically or not.
What are tips for making co-parenting work?
In the Healthline article, editors relied upon advice by Dr. Gail Gross, a Houston-based psychologist specializing in family and child development; and Dr. Ben Michaelis, a clinical psychologist and parenting expert.
Have a stable visitation schedule.
According to Dr. Gross, “the more consistent you are (with your visitation schedule), the more stable your child will be in the midst of (what could be) a chaotic and emotional situation.
“It’s important to never manipulate the timetables for visitation, homework, vacation, etc.,” explained Dr. Gross.
Be consistent with rules.
Dr. Michaelis says that there should be a shared understanding among both parents about rules and expectations for the child.
“The rules should be the same in both households, but (if this) is not practical, the expectations should be clear,” he said.
Let your child have a voice.
Because it’s common for children to feel out of control because they did not have a say in the divorce, letting them have a role in the post-divorce decision-making process can help your child feel more vested in the new family arrangements.
“This can include helping to decide on the new sleeping arrangements, where to go on spring break, home décor, etc.,” said Dr. Gross.
Keep feelings of frustration towards your former spouse to yourself.
It’s common for hurt feelings and frustrations to be experienced time and again by you after the divorce. But it’s key to not let those emotions take over your personality.
“Because a child identifies with both parents as being part of them, speaking negatively about your former spouse can undermine your child’s self-identity and security,” said Dr. Gross.
Find a way to get along with your ex.
The priorities of your child should come before those of your own and your former spouse. By finding a way to get along peacefully and parent together, things most likely will go much smoother for everyone concerned.
“If both parents can recognize that they both want what’s best for their child, they’re already a long way towards a healthy post-divorce situation,” explained Dr. Michaelis.
Facing divorce? Call The Men’s Legal Center!
As we’ve said many times, we love children and strongly believe that fathers continue to play fundamental roles in their children’s lives long after a divorce. It’s one of the reasons we established our Great Dads initiative.
If you’re a father facing divorce, we urge you to get in touch with us here at the Men’s Legal Center. We’ll make sure you have the resources and knowledge to position you for the best possible outcome in family court.