Divorce can be hard on the entire family, but it seems children have the hardest time coping with the changes in their lives. When the two parents can put their differences aside and continue to co-parent the children, the children will feel happier and more secure. Some guidelines will make the co-parenting relationship easier on everyone.
- Make a list of the things that are most important for you to teach your child.
Have your spouse do the same, and then compare lists. Chances are you both value many of the same traits that you hope to instill in your children. By listing these and discussing them, you can begin the co-parenting process in a more cooperative manner, because you will both be working for common goals.
- Discuss the rules that the children will be expected to obey at each of your households.
There may be some differences here, but it helps if they are at least somewhat consistent, because the child will adjust easier to going back and forth.
- If there are differences, agree to support each others rules.
If one parent has set a consequence for a negative behavior in the child, the other parent should follow through with the punishment when the child is visiting. For example, if one parent tells the child no television until his or her grades improve, the other parent should enforce the same rule.
- When differences arise between the parents, be mature enough to sit down together, discuss them and compromise.
Dont let any animosity between you interfere with the ability to be effective parents.
- Never argue about differences in parenting styles in front of the children.
When the children are present, you should present a united front. Even though you are not together as a couple, you can still show respect for each others beliefs and values.
Parenting your children is the most important job you will ever do, and if parents can work together in a peaceful manner, you can keep divorce from having long lasting, negative effects on your children. Make a decision to put your personal issues aside in order to give your best to your children. They deserve two loving, supportive parents who can co-parent effectively.