Divorce is a tragedy, no matter how one looks at it. It would be hard to believe that any couple who chooses to get married is looking to have their marriage fail and is planning to get divorced. Even if the divorce was a mutual decision and the couple truly believes it is the in the best interest of all, there is still a great loss and huge life transition to follow. However, when you add children into the mix of divorce, they become the true victims. Unfortunately, parents often have so much bitterness and resentment that co-parenting peacefully after divorce becomes the greatest challenge of all.
Children do not choose to have divorced parents, yet they are often forced to choose between their parents. Children do not choose to have more than one place they call home, yet after a divorce they are forced to adjust and settle in these now two homes. Children do not sign up to be the child who has divorced parents, two homes, and everything else that comes along with these circumstances. With that being said,co-parenting peacefully after divorce is one committment that needs to be honored. Even though you may choose to no longer be married to your spouse, you are both still the parents of your children. You must find a way to co-exist together as your children’s parents and do whatever is necessary to gain the support, the knowledge, and the tools to practice co-parenting peacefully after a divorce. This is not an effortless task, nor one that is done with perfection, yet is a responsibility you have to your children. There are no winners in divorce.
Children may develop many fears following a divorce. They may fear that if one parent left, then there is a chance the other parent will leave and that they may never see a parent again. Children can become apprehensive and worry about who it is that will take care of them. Anxiety may increase because at a child’s core, they feel abandoned. This does not mean that a child will not heal, however, co-parenting peacefully after divorce is going to greatly increase that likelihood. In addition, it is important for both parents to become educated on the how the developmental needs of children from infancy to toddlerhood, to preschoolers, to school-age children and preteen years, to adolescence differ and affect how children may perceive and deal with divorce.
Here are some tips to co-parenting peacefully after divorce:
- REFRAME and shift your perception about your relationship with you ex from being a divorced couple to being the parents that your children need.
- Agree that you will not utilize your children as a buffer or as the one who is the messenger when the dialog needs to be between the to of you as the adult parents of your children.
- Agree to not speak negatively about your ex. If you have something negative to say then make sure to communicate with a peer or professional outside of the children’s presence.
- Never assume your children are not listening just because they may be in the other room because trust me during this tough transition; their hearing is better than ever.
- If you and your ex need to talk about a “tough” topic that may result in elevated emotions, make sure to be in a neutral place where your children are not present.
- Talk positively, or at least do not talk negatively, about your ex. Remember, they may be your ex, BUT they are still your child’s mother or father. Do your best to preserve their goodness.
- Children do not need to know EVERYTHING and they definitely do not need to become a caretaker or encouraged to take sides.
- It is important for both parents to remove any potential blame your child may be carrying; remind them more than once and even more than twice that this is not their fault.
- Do your best to keep the conversation focused on what is in the best interest of each unique child and not what is in the best interest of the parent.
- NO ONE WINS IN DIVORCE!
Co-parenting peacefully after divorce is the best way to help children adjust, heal, and have healthy relationships in their future. Please share this message with others who may be struggling with co-parenting peacefully after divorce. There is power in every voice.