You say goodbye to your divorce lawyer as your split has been finalized. It’s now time to move on from the divorce and regain your life. However, you have kids and you still have to interact with your former partner for their sake. How do you do it? Well, we have 4 tips for you :
- Support the other parent
This is obvious to some, impossible to others. But this is one of the most important points of co-parenting, which is why it’s listed at number one in this article.
Co-parenting is about two parents working together for the benefit of their children. Being supportive to your ex-partner can be difficult at first because you might dislike them – but like most things, give it time and you’ll get the hang of it and learn to put your feelings aside. Supporting your former partner can be done in a whole lot of ways, including :
- Not talking badly about them in front of the children
- Covering for them when they are unable to make it for your child’s events
- Being democratic about resolving children’s issues
And the list goes on. Basically, supporting the other parent means not hindering their interaction with the kids in any way. Respect them as a person, and more importantly as a parent to your kids. You don’t want your children thinking badly of them.
Follow the golden rule : If you wouldn’t want your ex to do it to you, don’t do it to them.
- Be there for your children
Second most important point in my book would be to support your children. This is the time they need it the most. Young children might not understand what’s going on, and seeing their parents suddenly parting ways, not living together or talking to each other can be scary and confusing to them.
Be there for them by being interested in their lives. Ask them about school, bring them to places that interest them, and buy them toys or gifts every now and then. Show that you care about them and are still a huge part of their lives. Some parents even talk to their kids about the divorce and attempt to explain what’s going on and how it affects them.
I know some parents might have differing opinions on this, and would rather avoid having this conversation until their kids are older. It really depends on your child’s attitudes and beliefs, and your judgement of the situation. I believe talking about this topic to your kids is subjective and is entirely up to the parents. Each family is unique and only the parents knows best what works for the family.
If you think being open and talking to them about it can make things better, go for it.
- Democratic decision making
Important decisions regarding your child should not be done without the other parent’s knowledge. It’s their children also. Be democratic and ask for their opinions and thoughts on the matter. If there is a disagreement, try to solve it in a civil way by explaining your thought process and giving the other parent time to think about it. Being civil and reasonable will reflect well on you and can make your ex-partner feel bad for shooting down your suggestions. Like we mentioned in another article, do not quarrel about children’s matters in front of them. Keep all disagreements behind closed doors.
Also important to note is to keep the other parent in the loop about what’s going on with the children. If your child was hospitalised or fell sick while they were with you, inform your ex-partner. This will help greatly in the dynamics and relationships within the family, and helps instil trust that might have been broken during the divorce. Same goes for financial matters. Expenses should be borne fairly by each parent. What is fair is again, very subjective and only the parents know best.
Do not be insistent unless you really know what you’re doing. But again, being insistent and pushy rarely works out well.
- Keep your ego in check
As said by a parent who successfully co-parented, “successful co-parenting is about loving your child more than you hate your ex.”
That’s a good way to think about it.. I guess.
Our egos can sometimes get in the way of rational decision making by clouding our judgement. Choose what is right based on logic. Remember to always think of the consequences your actions could have on your kids and on yourself. This will usually help parents rethink their actions. Another way to counter your ego is to wait a day or two before proceeding to do what you intended. Usually, the thought dies down by then and the intention fades away. This helps parents from making rash decisions that could have unintended or unseen consequences.