You, too, Can Make Co-parenting Work in Divorce
Co-parenting: it sounds so easy, but it can be so challenging! You care intensely about your children, and it’s tough to give up control to someone you barely even like (your ex). Even if you have a decent relationship with your former spouse and a shared commitment to your kids, there will be tough times. If your relationship is tough to begin with, it makes a tricky situation that much more difficult. But the truth is, you can make things work, regardless of your co-parent’s issues. Here’s how.
- Putting the kids first: Always, always base your decisions on what will provide the best outcome for the children, whether your ex has that same philosophy or not. That means you may have to bite your tongue when you’d like to be snide and sarcastic, and you may give your ex some undeserved breaks, but, when you think about how it’ll affect the kids, it’s worth every bit of effort.
- Empathize with your kids: They may miss their other parent sometimes. Acknowledge this, and let them know that you understand how tough the divorce has been on them. You don’t have to make it better for them—you just need to let them experience their feelings and know they are supported and loved throughout. Listening doesn’t mean solving. It just means listening.
- Don’t resent new relationships your kids have: Your ex may want to introduce the kids to someone special down the road. You may want to resist that. But why? Is it because it won’t be good for the kids, or because you’re irritated that someone new will have a chance to impact their lives. Remember, the more you share your children, the greater the chance for more love in their lives. Yes, protect them from dangerous encounters—but make sure you’re being honest with yourself about your actions.
- Own it when you mess up: Nobody’s perfect, which means at some point you may let it slip that your ex is a turd in front of the kids. Don’t do the easy thing and justify your slip. Acknowledge that you made a mistake and encourage a healthy relationship with their other parent.
- Don’t be a control freak: You never allow the kids to drink soda and your ex does. You want the kids in bed at 9:00, but it’s 10:00 in the other house. Okay, it may feel like the end of the world, but kids can live under two different sets of rules and turn out to be perfectly fine adults down the road. Unless there’s something wildly unhealthy going on, don’t pick fights over every little thing that goes on in the other house. Mellow out!
- Look at your ex through your kids’ eyes: While your ex is nothing short of an obstinate, selfish jerk in your eyes, who do your kids see? Maybe it’s a great soccer coach, a hilarious dinner companion, or a comforting adult who loves them. Allow them that and try to see it as well. Just because someone may fall short as an ideal partner, it doesn’t make them a horrible parent. So give everyone a break and look for the positive parenting that’s happening. Maybe even compliment it every now and then!
Divorce is never easy, but at WiseLieberman, our dedicated Boca Raton divorce attorneys are always there to support the best possible outcomes. Contact us in our office today for a confidential consultation.