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Overcoming the challenges of co-parenting

Parenting after divorce can seem like a difficult prospect, but doesn't have to be. By following some commonsense guidelines, it is possible to put your differences or feelings for your spouse aside, and get on with parenting in a consistent, fulfilling way that lets your kids experience a mostly normal "Mom And Dad" relationship. 

It is perhaps obvious to many divorcing or divorced parents that they have to put aside their differences to be the best parents they can be for their children. Others need help and support for this prospect. Here is some vital parenting after divorce advice that's worth taking:

  1. Be consistent. Marriage and divorce counselors will tell you -- consistency in being there for kids is the best way to help keep their self-esteem up, and your image with them high as well. Leaving gaps in your presence with them can wear down their trust, and subsequently hamper their psychological and emotional development.
  2. Solving problems shows kids how to problem solve. By being the best example of compromise and problem solving for the sake of others, you teach your children that there are solutions to life's bigger problems. It also shows them, demonstrably, how they can solve interpersonal issues by putting their own wants or desires aside for the betterment of all.
  3. Separate your feelings from behavior. It is possible to set unpleasant thoughts and feelings about a former spouse aside and present healthy parenting behavior to children in spite of the separation and ending of the marriage contract. In fact, it is vital to your children's health and well-being to do this.
  4. DO NOT use kids as messengers or go-betweens. Many divorced parents make the mistake of using their kids as go-betweens or communication avenues with the other parent in child custody situations. This can prove damaging to the child's psychology. Also, avoid criticizing the other parent, even in situations of deep animosity.

Every situation is different. For advice regarding your unique circumstances, talk to an attorney who has experience handling complex child custody disputes.

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