Conflict is a reality for most families in divorce. How you and your ex choose to parent will have a big impact on your children’s lives. After a split, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for parents, but as you and your ex attempt to navigate the post-divorce parenting terrain, it’s important to keep in mind that kids in divorced families do better when they feel supported and are able to build strong relationships with each parent.
Depending on how well you and your ex are able to communicate and get along, co-parenting may work for you. Co-parenting works best when there is a low level of conflict and parents are willing to work as a team. The focus is on the well-being of the children and on building and maintaining strong positive parent-child relationships.
Co-parenting is when parents parent separately but both take responsibility to care for their children with an open line of communication. With co-parenting, both parents play an equal role in their children's lives. The key is to separate a personal relationship with your ex from your co-parenting relationship and to limit sharing personal information. When both parents support and respect each other and co-parent amicably, joint custody can greatly benefit kids.
The goal is that both parents function as a team and aim for consistency; keeping rules, discipline and schedules the same between the two households as much as possible. Open communication is critical as parents make important decisions about their child’s medical care, education and financial issues. If parents do disagree, meeting on neutral ground and sticking to an agenda can help keep things civil and constructive.
Advantages for kids
If you’re willing to take the high road and work with your ex, co-parenting has many benefits for kids, including:
- Kids feel a sense of security
- Kids know and understand clear expectations
- Kids adjust better emotionally
- Kids model your behavior and develop better communication and problem-solving skills
Parenting with your ex after a divorce can be challenging. Keeping your kids as your focal point and concentrating on their health and happiness can help you rise above petty disagreements so that over time, your collaborative effort produces better outcomes for your kids.