Let go of control. Years after my divorce, my ex-husband and I still disagree about some of the same things we didn’t agree about when we were married. But we’ve reached a place of mutual respect and effective co-parenting for our two sons.
Divorce can bring out the worst in us. I am the first to admit that; perhaps there’s lingering hurt because one person left, or someone cheated, or someone fell out of love.
But whatever the reason that prompts a split, it’s never okay to drag kids through the mud. Obviously you don’t have to agree or even have to like each other very much, Co-parenting does not require a friendship but it will require your cooperation.
I live this every day and I understand that it’s a complicated issue but the cause and effect can be multiple. Children do not have prior knowledge or skills, so they look for someone to imitate. That “someone” is usually one or both parents. Parents are the first role models and teachers, and children are affected more by what their parents do and say. The example of what a child has before them (whether good or bad) may become the standard that a child uses for the rest of their life.
It is imperative after divorce that you take time to heal fully from the pain of divorce if you plan to Co- parent effectively. After my divorce I had to stop denying first that this was happening to me, before I could take the necessary time to grieve the end of our relationship, our life, our marriage. I didn’t want the ugliness of our divorce to run my life or effect our sons’. I had to remember that at one time, I loved and cared for their father.
Choosing to forgive is the greatest thing that I could ever do. When people hurt or offend you, you can choose to respond either with anger that will harm you and your children, or choose to walk through the forgiveness that God calls us all to pursue. I had to work hard to separate my emotional response to my ex’s reactions and seek solutions, not retaliations. It was not without wise counseling that I accepted the challenge to be the voice of reason, rather than of reaction, so that I could move forward and provide a healthy environment for our children.
Although there is no ” typical divorce” and no “magical formula” for ensuring positive Child & Family outcomes, and every child and family are unique, there is some general principles for successful Co-parenting that apply to most, if not all, divorcing families.
Be there for your children, both physically and emotionally, speak about and act in a respectful manner towards the other parent especially in front of your children conveying an attitude of respect toward your Co-parent this is vital to a Child well-being. Trust me ongoing conflict cuts to the heart of a child well-being as children see themselves as essentially half their mother and half their father keep this in the forefront of all interactions between you and the other parent in front of the child.
Talk with your children about the divorce above all, children need to know that they will not be abandoned, physically or emotionally by either of their parents. Also the greatest advice one divorcee to another I can give is to let your children be children. Don’t involve your children in adult problems; rather, maintain continuity in their existing routines and relationships, and shelter them from the struggles that are properly the responsibility of their parents!
I would suggest if you are unable to communicate without resorting to conflict and recriminations, a parallel parenting plan in which Co- parenting Arrangements can spell out in detail an agreed upon schedule. Church ⛪, Family members, friends and informal support networks are vital in the beginning with helping parents work through difficult feelings, including anger management, and the multiple challenges and transitions.
Trust me there is Life After Divorce! Your future is bright! Maintain your own health and well-being as a priority. Taking care of yourself is essential not only for you but for your children’s well-being. Your children depend on you, and you owe it to them to prioritize your own physical, emotional and mental health.
You never know what surprise life will bring, years post our Divorce. We pursued a business together called XCARDS for Ex-Relationships; Not Together But Never Forgotten. Our greeting cards act as an olive branch that promotes forgiveness, healing, or maybe even restoration. Visit us xcardsgreetings.com. We truly are an example of what we sell.