As you and your ex-spouse work through divorce details, one of the toughest challenges will be maintaining a united front for your children. Successfully navigating how to remain involved in your child’s everyday life requires long-term diligence, but the results are well worth it.
Some specifics of daily living will include:
- schedules for each parent to spend time with the children;
- when and where drop-offs will occur;
- how and when you will communicate with the children and with each other;
- what child care plan to rely on in case of a schedule conflict;
- how to discipline;
- what values and religious beliefs are important to impart; and
- an action plan for emergency situations (1).
Co-parenting is all about balance. The key is to make common goals for your children the top priority and keep negative feelings for each other under control. Respect is another important factor – respect for the other parent’s time with the children, as well as what they have to offer as a parent. While it may be tough, much of a child’s ability to bounce back post-divorce is directly linked to how well parents can handle the situation. Keep in mind that successfully co-parented children enjoy stability and have healthy relationships with mom and dad. Also, they rarely feel torn between or abandoned by their parents, and seldom experience pressure to meet a parent’s social or emotional needs.
Finally, remember that meeting your emotional needs is a vital component to co-parenting success. Take advantage of available resources to deal with negative feelings such as anger or animosity away from your children. Some strategies include talking to other co-parents, seeking counseling or joining a support group. Raising healthy, well-adjusted children is any parent’s ultimate goal – married or divorced. You are each doing your part to make that goal a reality when you can work together effectively.