Relationships evolve, they change just like the people that create them. In marriages, you enter as one person, but if you and your partner determine it’s time to go your separate ways, you will be forever changed by your bond, especially if you’ve assumed one more role in your life: that of a parent.
In so many ways, now that you’ve created a life together, no matter how your relationship with your spouse changes, you will share this parenting bond for good.
In such situations, you need to prepare yourself, your future life, and your child in order to make sure that your co-parenting efforts succeed, and that your child is cared for to the best of your abilities.
The co-parenting approach is an excellent strategy to provide your kids with the routine, structure, and stability they will need. It will help them through the divorce process, and it will allow them to continue developing healthy relationships with both of their parents.
If you’re still overwhelmed by this truly life-altering change of pace, here are a few tips to help you structure your co-parenting arrangement successfully and make it work for your family.
4 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce
Ensure transparent communication
Marriages dissolve for a myriad of different reasons, from severe emotional transgressions such as infidelity, all the way to simple causes that lead to an amicable divorce. In any scenario, kids will feel the disharmony and the following changes in their pace of life, which is precisely why transparent communication is essential for you, your former spouse, and your youngsters.
From talking to your kids to help them understand the process, to having regular negotiation sessions with your former spouse on your changing routines, communication will help you establish the structure for healthy co-parenting.
This approach will help you allocate chores and responsibilities, as well as ample time with your kids so that holidays and vacation time are distributed equally and to the benefit of your children. The most important thing to keep in mind is to stay respectful.
Whether you’re having a conversation while your kids are in the room or you’re alone, you’ll affect how your kids perceive both of you based on your own behavior and language. When there’s a conflict to resolve, use these opportunities to teach your kids the importance of mutual respect and care, even in disagreement.
Build a reliable system
Several factors are at play when it comes to creating a co-parenting system that will work for both parents, the extended family, and other support systems in your vicinity. For instance, living in vast metropolises the likes of Sydney can make it close to impossible for parents to have a stable co-parenting schedule if they live miles apart.
This is especially difficult when those unplanned events arise, such as the need to pick up your kids early from school.
In these situations, vicinity matters, so many parents choose to live in project homes in Sydney that allow both parents to be present in their kids’ lives and establish a healthy routine and a support system that works. If you suddenly need a Wednesday afternoon for an emergency dentist’s appointment, your former spouse will have an easier time to adjust and be flexible and vice versa.
If your extended family is included, and they often are, keep them in the loop as well, and make these decisions together as a family, to raise your kids more successfully and will fewer obstacles.
Factor in your own wellbeing
One crucial aspect of parenting is being a healthy role model for your kids. As a person and a parent, you should dedicate time and effort to stay resilient and sustaining healthy habits throughout the divorce and well after the process is over. As you co-parent your children, you should make time in your busy schedule to exercise, cook, and enjoy various social activities that will enrich your life.
As much as you want your kids to be the center of your universe, you also need to show them that developing various interests in life is a good choice and that they should feel encouraged to do the same. So, as you work through the co-parenting schedule and find that fine balance with your former spouse, keep your needs in check, as well. Your kids will learn so much from that.
Balancing compromise and consistency
As we’ve already established, building structure in your co-parenting schedule will let your child thrive and develop as a person, and continue expanding their relationships with you and your former spouse. But even outside of marriage, your parenting relationship requires a fair deal of compromise in order to work.
Structure should never be mistaken for rigidity since some level of pliancy is necessary for the arrangement to work for all of those involved. If you’ve had trouble with compromise in your marriage, you might find this particularly challenging when you’re divorced.
Keep an open mind to those unforeseeable circumstances such as the sudden flu attack, or perhaps an unexpected call from the school for a parent-teacher conference, or a canceled soccer practice which will change your routine.
In any case, consistency needs to live in harmony alongside some level of flexibility in your relationship. Discuss these situations openly just like all other arrangements, to make sure your kids are always covered.
The commitment necessary for healthy co-parenting after divorce takes time to develop and evolve. Make sure to keep these most fundamental principles of communication and structure-building in mind, so that you can protect your kids and help your entire family transition successfully into this new chapter of your life.
Lilly Miller is a Sydney-based graphic designer and a passionate writer. She loves everything about home decor, art history, and baking. She shares a home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney. www.twitter.com/heyoitslilly