Minor children often find divorce taxing on their mental and emotional health. They must suddenly adjust to a new reality due to circumstances beyond their control.
In the upheaval, they may find themselves forced to accept a new schedule, a new home and a new family dynamic. All of this may result in long-term effects on their behavior and mental health. Effective co-parenting may help mitigate some of the difficulties they must endure as they adapt to their new lives.
1. Maintain open lines of communication
Proper communication is key to a good co-parenting relationship. Without it, misunderstandings pop up, possibly leading to tension or anger. Be as available as possible on multiple platforms (email, text, phone, etc.) to receive messages or calls. Do not communicate through the children.
2. Keep physical exchanges calm and polite
Do not argue or be passive-aggressive in front of the children. Kids have the ability to pick up on underlying tension, which may lead to them feeling scared and insecure. Stick to the agreed-upon schedule, avoid being late for drop-offs and pick-ups and communicate immediately if a problem occurs.
3. Consider the children first
The children are the primary concern. They are not tools in an ongoing war. Do not use them to get back at the other parent. Do not refuse to compromise for events or vacations during your parenting time because of anger at the other parent. Do not badmouth the other parent to the children. The important thing is to ensure the children remain sure of one fact: Their parents love them and want them to be happy.
Effective co-parenting may be the difference between children adjusting well or not after a divorce. While it may not prevent all problems, it may also help with resolving them when they occur.