Co-parenting while keeping things peaceful and cordial can be difficult after a divorce. However, with successful joint custody, your children can remain close with both parents and benefit from security and stability in their lives.
If you do not have to contend with serious issues like drug abuse or domestic violence, co-parenting, which involves both parents having active roles in the regular lives of their children, is the best method to successfully meet all the needs of your children. This also helps them maintain close bonds with both parents.
At Davis Law Group in Massachusetts, Jay Davis can guide you about all aspects related to a divorce, including sensitive issues such as child custody and visitation. Jay can help you take a proactive approach, so you are not entirely at the mercy of the justice system when it comes to your children in the divorce. You can reach out to him at 617-221-3548 and schedule a free consultation.
Tip 1: Put Hurt and Anger on the Back Seat
Being angry or hurt is normal. However, you can separate this from your behavior. Things can be a lot better if your actions are motivated by your children’s needs.
Get an outlet for your emotions. Do not vent your feelings to your child. Instead, seek alternatives like family, friends, a therapist, or even a pet. They can be great listeners and help you vent negative emotions. Healthy exercise can also be a great outlet.
Maintain focus on your child. Remembering that you have your child’s welfare at heart can help you act gracefully and with purpose if you feel resentful or angry. Look at old photos of your child to calm down and get to the right place mentally.
Do not communicate through your children. Sending messages to your co-parent through your kids puts them directly in the center of your conflict. Communicate directly and keep your kids away from your relationship issues.
Internalize your issues. Do not influence your children with negative statements about your ex or compel them to choose between their parents. Your child needs healthy relationships with both parents.
Tip 2: Better Communication, Better Co-Parenting
While it might seem difficult, the key to successful co-parenting can be proper communication that is cordial, peaceful, and purposeful.
Maintain a respectful tone. It is constructive to communicate with your ex like a colleague, with respect and cordiality. Try to relax, talk slowly, and remain neutral.
Learn to listen. Mature communication begins when you listen carefully. Even when you disagree with your co-parent on something, you have to communicate that you have listened and understood their side of things.
Exercise control and restraint. It is useful to remember that you need to keep communicating with the co-parent during the entire childhood of your kids, and possibly further. Teach yourself to avoid overreactions and, over time, you can successfully keep yourself immune to conflict.
Commit to regular communication. Communicating frequently with your ex can be difficult, especially right after the separation. However, doing this can tell your kids that their parents are united in their co-parenting efforts.
Focus on your kids. Communication with the co-parent should not involve your needs or their needs. Instead, prioritize and focus solely on the needs of your children.
Tip 3: Implement Teamwork in Co-Parenting
It can be taxing for your children to have to move back and forth between environments that are totally different. This can be avoided through the establishment of consistent guidelines between co-parents.
Handle medical requirements together. While either parent can be designated as the primary point of contact with medical professionals and with keeping doctor appointments, it’s vital to discuss and keep each other in the loop.
Take care of education. Inform the school about the living situation of your child. Discuss parent-teacher meetings, class schedules, and school activities with the co-parent and maintain civil behavior at school events.
Handle finances. Co-parenting can become even more challenging due to the higher cost of maintaining two households instead of one. Start with setting a budget and maintain records of expenses that are shared between co-parents. If your ex can provide your child with opportunities you cannot, you need to be grateful.
12 Commandments for Divorced Parents – By Ann Landers
- Never make visitation arrangements directly with children under 12.
- Never suggest visitation arrangements you have not previously discussed with the other parent. Always confirm with the other parent any visitation arrangements made with children 12 and over.
- Send and return children who are clean, well-rested, and fed. Do not send or return a sack or suitcase full of soiled clothes.
- Do not use telephone answering device to screen calls from the other parent or limit telephone access between your children and the other parent – except after your children’s actual bedtime, not the bedtime you would like them to have.
- Do not discuss divorce disputes with your children or allow them to hear you are discussing your differences regarding them.
- Do not send messages or money with your children.
- Do not speak ill of the other parent – or of his or her relatives, friends or loved ones.
- Do not ask your children for information about the other parent’s household, friends, income, or activities.
- Do not believe everything you hear from your children.
- Do not second guess the other parent regarding discipline, rewards, or anything else.
- Give a sympathetic ear to your children, but affirm and reaffirm as often as necessary that you are not a referee or a mediator between your children and the other parent.
- Be courteous. Do not honk your horn for your child to come out. Walk to the other parent’s door don’t go inside unless invited. Have the children ready to go. Always be on time. Smile.
Speak to a Seasoned Divorce Attorney in Massachusetts
Child custody battles, parenting plans, and other family law issues can be life-altering. Jay Davis has been helping his clients since 1998 with a variety of divorce and family law matters in Massachusetts. With the Davis Law Group by your side, you can be sure that your rights in a divorce will be fully protected. Contact Jay Davis at 617-221-3548 or leave us a message here to set up a confidential consultation.