How parents can deal with co-parenting conflicts after divorce
A divorce can be traumatic for the children of the estranged couple. But co-parenting conflicts can make life hell for them. Seeing the parents feuding can have a far-reaching impact on the mental health of kidsf kids. It is the last thing that either of the parents will want to happen. Ideally, the couple should strive for healthy co-parenting following the divorce. However, it isn’t easy to achieve because most divorce cases end on a bitter note, and the ex-partners have nothing they agree on, including parenting their kids.
As a parent who shares the custody of the kids with their ex, you must make conscious efforts to avoid disputes so that life can be as normal as possible. It is challenging indeed, but you have to do your best for the sake of your children because the relationship between parents can influence them deeply. Here are the steps that can help deal with co-parenting conflicts after your divorce.
Try to close the relationship amicably
When living together isn’t a choice, couples separate, and children understand sooner or later. But a bitter divorce makes things tough for everyone, and co-parenting can be a big challenge in such a situation. People who part on a bad note cannot stand each other, so you often forget about the kids and fight it out. It isn’t the right approach if you have kids because they will have to bear the brunt of the friction between the parents. The best thing you can do is try for an amicable closure so that you can still be a family that is able to spend time together.
Negotiate a workable co-parenting plan
It is vital to negotiate a workable co-parenting plan with your estranged partner to ensure that things are clear and there is no scope for conflicts. If you aren’t on good terms, involving a close friend or counselor is a good idea to have an arrangement that works for everyone. The objective is to ensure a safe, consistent, and predictable caregiving environment for your children. Remember that they need the love and care of both parents and you must be there for them, even if it means giving up on your personal issues and ego clashes.
Make rules for communication with your ex
Even as you stay amicable with your ex-spouse, you must make clear rules for communication with them. Don’t let them barge in whenever they want to because the arrangement can eventually disrupt your life if you get into a new relationship. Avoid phone calls and stick to texting and email only for communication. It will enable you to have control over when to respond. Also, limit communication only to matters involving your parental responsibilities. Do not let your ex interfere in your personal life because they do not have the right anymore.
Have clarity on legal issues
Divorce is a legal arrangement that closes your relationship with your spouse for good, but the matter is still not over when you co-parent minor children. It is vital to have clarity on legal issues like parental rights and childcare support to avoid conflicts and disputes with your partner. When it comes to parenting time and contact orders, fathers have the same legal rights as mothers. So you cannot stop each other from meeting the kids unless the court intervenes. However, you can seek legal aid if your ex-spouse tries to harass you or cause trouble to the children.
The relationship of your children with your partner can get tricky to handle as a co-parent. But the best way to do this is by practicing restraint. You may feel insecure or angry if the children get closer to them. But you have to play the role of a wise parent. Being hostile will only send across the wrong message to children. It can even have the wrong impact on young minds. Similarly, it can get hard to deal with problems between the kids and your partner. You can be supportive and listen to their complaints, but you must refrain from getting involved. Empower your kids to take a stand rather than advising them about the right action.
Focus on your children’s well-being
Your conflict with your spouse can make the relationship toxic, even after divorce. The bitterness can affect the well-being of your kids. So make sure that you deal with it as co-parents. You can talk to each other and try to resolve things to make life easier for the children. Seeking counseling support is a good idea to take co-parenting in the right direction if you struggle with serious issues. The love and care for your kids should motivate you to rebuild a normal relationship with your ex.
Stick to a consistent routine for your children
When kids are young, it is easy to win their attention with favors. Conflicting co-parents often try tactics like letting children do things their own way, such as letting them have sugary foods, watch late-night TV, or not have a consistent bedtime. Do your bit when they are with you by sticking to a consistent routine and making rules for the kids. They might complain initially, but they will eventually realize that you have their best interests in mind. Avoid criticizing your partner and let kids understand the truth on their own. Communicate these rules and routines to your ex and tell them that you expect them to adhere when the kids are spending time with them.
Overcoming conflicts with an estranged partner is a challenge, but you have no choice when kids are involved. The best way to part is amicably so that you can be good parents to your children. No matter how old they are, kids need both parents, and they expect you both to be friendly with each other. Having the right mindset can give you the right solution. If you still cannot work on your mindset, turn to a counselor for advice and support. The effort is worthwhile because it impacts the well-being of your children.