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Coparenting after a divorce

Recent studies have indicated that children of divorce are more likely to face serious psychological and emotional burdens in their formative years and throughout their lives. Certainly, divorce is difficult on all members of a family, especially as they adjust to their new lives, schedules and routines. Amidst all the change, newly divorced parents should not forget one important task: developing a plan for how they will jointly raise their children.

Successful coparenting has been shown to increase children’s self-esteem and classroom performance. Especially following an emotional divorce and child custody dispute, coparenting is not always easy. However, by keeping the best interests of your children at heart, you can achieve harmony in parenting. Here are a few tips for effective and friendly coparenting:

  • Keep it friendly: Never criticize your former spouse in front of your child. This not only undercuts your spouse’s credibility, but it makes your child feel like he or she is “in the middle,” which is a stressful place for children to be. Also, don’t use your child as a spy or messenger between you and your former spouse.
  • Make decisions together: Children need to receive the same message from each parent, so it is important to actively communicate and agree, or at least compromise, when making decisions relating to your child or children.
  • Communication is key: Although this is often difficult, don’t approach parenting conversations with your former spouse defensively. Be open to opinions and clear in your responses, focusing only on the issue at hand and not on history or any other issues that need to be resolved. Actively listen to what your former spouse has to say, rephrasing what they have said so they know that you are listening and that you understand.

By focusing on harmony and clear communication, parents and children alike will find the post-divorce world much less difficult.

Source: It’s a Mom’s World, “Child Custody and Coparenting

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