Co-parenting: Help is on Hand
The end of your marriage isn’t the end of your life. You’ve accepted it is over which is the first and arguably largest hurdle, but if you share children with your ex-partner I’m afraid there’s still a long way to go.
You need to come to terms with the fact that your ex-spouse will still be part of your life and part of your parenting team, be prepared to compromise and work at the relationship to ensure your children get the upbringing that they deserve.
You’re only human. The second step after accepting you marriage didn’t work out is accepting support and help that is on offer. Don’t ignore it or feel embarrassed. Communicating with friends, family and via forums and blogs can help gain perspective, insight and self-esteem. No one family is the same but there are millions of people going through similar situations, their advice and empathy can be empowering.
A strong and stable family environment for your children to develop and feel loved is the goal. To help you achieve this objective you need a positive co-parenting relationship and to achieve that you need to be able to communicate with your ex-partner without conflict. If you can’t even sit down and begin to discuss your parenting ideas without argument then mediation could be a suitable option. This will help you share ideas equally, collaborate, compromise and ultimately come to an agreement amicably.
Counseling provides a neutral party to aid discourse between you and you co-parent. It’s a good way of trying to understand the reactions you both have to each other and how to manage these and move forward with less conflict. You will recognize and understand your own triggers as well as your differing parenting styles; this will improve communication, your joint decision making and increase the likelihood of accepted compromise on the part of both parties.
Support for Your Children
You and your ex-partner aren’t the only people going through divorce, the whole family is. Therapy could be necessary for your children in order for them to adapt to all the changes with understanding and no residue of trauma or psychological issues. The upheaval of divorce is significant enough to warrant constant support and reassurance for your kids, you know this is difficult for them but you can’t know exactly how they feel unless you talk to them. This is a tricky task as you will have to wait until they are ready; it is not a good idea to force discussion.
The mixture of emotions can result in attachment, separation or rejection issues and if your child is showing signs of emotional distress or unexpected behavioral problems therapy is a reasonable choice to make. Sometimes speaking to someone less personally involved will make a child feel less pressure and more open in their dialogue. All children handle stress differently, it is normal for parents to disagree as to whether they might need therapy or not. Some additional signs as to whether they may need help would include persistent behavior that is affecting the whole family, the child’s school life and elicits concern amongst your friends and other family members.
Being emotionally prepared to work on your co-parenting relationship so soon after divorce is not easy. Counseling offers a way to come to terms with and manage the task at hand. Mediation provides a forum to discuss ideas civilly and subsequently avoid stressful exchanges. For your children, early intervention is the way to get the results that you desire. If you are unsure, an initial consultation will provide you with the information you need and can tell you whether therapy is right for your child or not.
Don’t think of divorce as a failed relationship, that relationship gave you your children.
Similarly, don’t think of parenting or co-parenting counseling as failed parenting. It is merely a method to help you gain the confidence you need to be the best parent you can be. Furthermore, it will help you communicate more effectively which sets you on the path towards a healthy, conflict-free co-parenting relationship.
This article was authored by Krishan Smith: Senior Editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources and a scholarship program for single parents.