When children are involved in a difficult divorce, co-parenting can be extremely challenging but following a few simple steps can make all the difference. When parents put their differences aside, practice flexibility, and make their children their top priority, children of divorce have better outcomes.
Want What is Best for the Children
When parents are fighting, children are the ones that suffer. Both parents need to approach the co-parenting situation with good intentions toward their children and each other. This might seem easier said than done, but it is possible even when parents have different parenting styles or hurt feelings from the divorce.
Both parents should keep an open line of communication. Parenting decisions should be calmly discussed instead of arguing just for the sake of giving the other parent a hard time. Occasionally, compromises will need to be made for the sake of maintaining the peace for the children.
Keep Fights Away from Children
Children should never be drawn into disagreements between their parents. When problems arise with custody or child support, these issues should be worked out with a child custody lawyer and discussed when the children are not present. Arguing in the presence of children is detrimental to their wellbeing. Children who are exposed to parental conflict often believe that they are at fault for the problems between their parents.
Be Flexible with Changes to Visitation Schedules
Custody agreements usually include a parenting time schedule. This schedule might seem to work at first, but sometimes life happens. It can become difficult to follow. It is easy to get mad at the other parent because he or she is unable to care for their children. The ability to be understanding and flexible when an occasional schedule change occurs instead of getting mad helps avoid conflicts. When scheduling issues occur more frequently, it is time to calmly discuss adjusting the schedule to one that works for both parents.
It is not always easy to effectively co-parent. It takes the effort of both parents working together in a respectful manner. Communication and the ability to compromise can help divorced parents achieve this goal which in turn protects the children from conflict.