When you have kids together, and you get divorced or separate your co-parent is always going to be a part of your life, whether you like it or not. Now every situation is different, and not all parents are going to be able to co-parent together effectively. However, the more you can work together and even have “family time” the better off your child(ren) will be. Often it can be helpful to remind yourself that it’s not about you or your ex. It’s about the children and the benefit they receive by seeing their parents as a team instead of fighting. If you can’t be in the same room as your co-parent without a battle, then having family time might not work for you. It’s worse for your child(ren) to have to experience you battling with your co-parent then it is not to see you guys together. However, if you can learn to put your differences aside and do what’s best for them, then you can do something positive for them.
Learning to co-parent together can be tough. No one is saying that it will happen easily overnight. However, there are many steps that you can take to make it easier for everyone. The first thing to think about is how you go through the divorce process. Parents who start in mediation are more likely to continue to work together. This is opposed to those who fight through litigation and let a judge decide their parenting plan. Even if not required by a court, a co-parenting course, such as Kid’s Turn San Diego can help you both learn how to communicate better. These classes also normalize the two households for the children and allow them to understand they’re not the only child with parents who are co-parenting together. Even after the divorce is final, it’s essential to continue working on your communication. Make sure that you are always putting the child(ren) first and working with your co-parent, not against them. If you guys aren’t on the same page as your child(ren) get older they’re going to be able to use that against you and learn ways to get things from one parent when the other one says no.
It’s always important to remember that families come in all different shapes and sizes. Just because you’re no longer married, doesn’t mean that you can’t have family time with both parents there. This is especially true during important life events such as a sporting event, graduation, weddings, etc. No matter how old your child(ren) get, you are their parents. Having both of you present at these types of events can provide relief for children of divorce. As time goes on, there may even be new partners that become a part of things and including them in the family time may happen as well. Ultimately, co-parenting together isn’t easy for anyone. If you can both be respectful of each other, you’re doing what’s best for your child(ren), and that’s what matters.
Going through mediation for your divorce or separation is a significantly positive first step. It is even better if you come back to mediation as you move through co-parenting. This will allow you to provide a better co-parenting relationship for your child(ren) and make sure they continue to flourish.
If you are interested in mediation, contact West Coast Family Mediation Center to schedule your mediation consultation.
by: Amanda Singer