Co-parenting can be a daunting endeavor. For new divorcees, managing a full-time career, expenses, and kids’ schedules can stress even the most optimistic, upbeat person. In 2012,
vow to focus on the kids and living a healthy lifestyle rather than hating the other co-parent.
The fact stands that your ex does not live up to your expectations, and probably never will, or your marriage would have lasted.
When you can lighten up your hatred toward the ex, you can be happier when you drop them off on the ex’s parenting week or weekend or during special occasions. Treat the ex almost like a business colleague so you can keep focused on the kids’ development and your sanity. A child’s self esteem grows when they can have quality time with both parents, and does not have to be a messenger between his or her parent.
Tara Fass, a family therapist, says, “To cultivate resilience in your children, try to turn down the anger on your anxiety, disappointment and rage. How you co-parent today affects generations to come and your lineage forever. The choice is yours.”
Inevitably as the kids grow and dynamics change, the parenting agreement might need to be modified. When there are valid reasons to update the agreement – extracurricular activities the child is involved in, work schedules, summer vacation – a family law attorney can help the parents revise the agreement. It is best if both parents can work out the revisions versus having to go back to a judge to decide what is fair. As Fass states, “…dissolving couples who require a judge’s assistance to co-parent are adults viewed as children in a tantrum-like frame of mind and emotion.”
Children greatly benefit from structure, smooth transitions between households, and an environment where a parent listens and truly cares about their child growing up as normal as possible. Co-parents will have their own personalities but “As long as you are both using good judgment and are acting in safe/healthy ways, then some parenting differences will actually create benefits for your child,” noted the We Can Parent Together website. “Problems with co-parenting during the infant, toddler, preschool, and elementary school years have been related to a wide variety of child problems, including problems with social adaptation, poorer preschool and school achievement, anxiety, and aggressiveness,” said the authors of “When People Parent Together”.
For many child therapists, divorce is not problematic in and of itself. It only becomes a strain on the child’s development when conflict, inadequate parenting, and unstable routines create an unhealthy childhood. If the co-parenting agreement is creating more problems than resolving them, seek the guidance of an expert family law attorney. Taking action early on will have great benefits for everyone in the family for the long term.