Parenting is hard enough as it is but throw a separation or divorce in there and things can begin to feel unmanageable. Trying to navigate parenting and determining if you’re making the right decisions is difficult and can become even harder when you’re feeling hurt after a separation or divorce. While it can be difficult to set aside emotions after a separation, that is exactly what children need from their parents so that they can work together and meet the children’s needs (New Hamburg Independent, 2019).
Listed below are tips for co-parenting (Freed & Soler, 2015):
- Focus on communicating about only the children.
- Respect each other’s privacy.
- Focus on what is going well rather than what is not going well.
- Expect to feel strange about the new co-parenting relationship.
As you shift from having an intimate relationship into the role of having somewhat of a business-like relationship, things will likely feel strange, as your actions may conflict with your emotions (Freed & Soler, 2015). Setting boundaries to communicate only about issues in relation to the children, their health or education, and some observations about behavioral changes can be helpful.
As you co-parent, you will no longer share detailed information about your own personal lives unless it is relevant to the children (Freed & Soler, 2015). “For example, if you told the children that a close relative was very sick and this was impacting the children’s emotional state, you should share that information with your co-parent so that he/she is aware and can support the children. On the other hand, you would not share detailed information with your co-parent about your own health and treatments if that did not directly impact the children” (Freed & Soler, 2015).
The transition from being in a relationship to trying to communicate about only the child(ren) can be difficult. It is important to meet your own mental health needs and discuss your frustrations during this time. Therapy can be beneficial for both parents and the child(ren) during this transitional period to help with adjustment and processing the new change. Children deserve to grow up in a loving environment with both parents. Communicating about the child and FOR the child can have a positive outcome for all.
New Hamburg Independent (2019, June 25). 6 tips for co-parenting following divorce. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=n5h&AN=91AMNEHI2019062554931476&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Freed, K., & Soler, S. (2015, January 11). Guidelines for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce. Retrieved from http://www.collaborativepracticecenterdc.com/guidelines-for-successful-co-parenting-after-divorce/.