Parenting after a divorce is never easy. After all, when you and your spouse decided to have children, it was with the thought that the other one would always be there. And even though your ex may still be there for your children, he or she is not there in the same way to help you through the pitfalls of parenting.
If your goal is to find a way to successfully co-parent your children and create an environment conducive to a happy childhood despite your divorce, follow these tips:
Be honest. Talk to them about the divorce in a way that is appropriate for their age. Don’t lie to them to make yourself look better or your ex look bad.
Model good behavior. Although it is tempting, don’t disparage your ex to your children. Model good coping skills by getting along.
Don’t weaponize your kids. Parents who use their children to punish each other often find they have alienated their children from themselves instead. Putting kids in the middle hurts them much more than it hurts your ex.
Let them make decisions. You may not want your children to vacation with your ex, but you should let them make their own decisions about how much time they want to spend with the other parent.
Be consistent. Work with your ex to provide a consistent routine for your children in both households.
Talk to your ex. Children often try to play one parent off the other one to get away with something. If you talk to your ex on a regular basis, you won’t fall into this trap. Let your ex know what’s going on in your children’s lives when they are with you.
Talk to your children. Keep talking to your children and give them some nonjudgmental space to talk to you about their feelings. Tell them you love them often, and that the divorce is not their fault. But do NOT talk to them about your ex; save that conversation for a friend or therapist.
Discipline your kids. Resist the temptation to let your kids get away with stuff because you feel guilty about the divorce. Don’t let your guilt make you a bad parent.
We know that family law issues are often difficult, life-changing events. We also know how much it helps to have knowledgeable legal advocates on your side to help you obtain the best possible outcome. Contact us today for your free consultation.