Dear Divorcée, – Co-Parenting Tips

Dear Divorcée,
If you have children, co-parenting is a huge part of the divorce “package”. I must say, that even under ideal situations, co-parenting can be quite challenging.
Oftentimes, there is an apprehension about co-parenting for most parents who are going through a divorce or separation where children are involved. As you face this transition be sure to be fair and remember how important co-parenting is for the children. Their best interest must come first. Don’t allow your negative feelings and emotions that you have for the other parent, to interfere with a healthy co-parenting relationship.
Here are several tips that were helpful for me as I began my co-parenting journey and that I think has served everyone involved well.
1. We, the parents primarily communicate via text message regarding the children. Early on along the co parenting journey, actual conversations seemed to end up in anger or blame that had nothing to do with the children. Texting kept information on topic and to the point. Over time our general communication got better, but texting is still the primary method of communication utilized.
2. Don’t try to control everything that goes on with the non custodial parent unless there is a true danger involved. The children love both of their parents. Just allow the parental relationship to grow and do not sweat the small stuff. If they eat popcorn and lay around all day with the other parent, it’s okay. I promise.
3. Be flexible and work together if there are legitimate changes in the visitation schedule. If the other parent has to work or go out of town on their weekend and vice versa, and you may have to alter weekends, work it out together. Life happens, be flexible because the children are watching.
4. Only speak positively about the other parent around the children. If you can’t say anything good, then don’t say anything at all. The children love both parents, flaws and all. Remember, the relationship between the parents, is not the same relationship between the parent and child.
5. When we meet for weekend visitation drop off, we meet at a general location that is a half way point between both homes. It’s a 10 mile drive each. Again, this neutral location has kept all personal drama out of the picture. Especially early on in the divorce, it’s kept things fair, and neutral. If there is a need to meet or pick up from each other’s homes or elsewhere, we do that. 
Again, these tips worked well for our situation, and we have been doing it for many years, and my daughters have done well. (One is an adult now) Everyone’s situation is different, but perhaps you can utilize something mentioned.
Co-parenting is very challenging at first, but it will get better over time.
– Andrea M. Stuckey

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