If you’re already a co-parent or considering the co-parenting route, there are a few unspoken rules to follow. Your family law attorney may have already informed you of the legal do’s and don’ts, but there’s still some impromptu etiquette to keep in mind.
From being open with your children about the relationship to maintaining their daily routines, these tips will help you keep the family tight and protected from further conflict. Take these rules into account, and reach out to a Mission Viejo divorce mediator for help with your co-parenting plans and agreements.
Keep Your Children Informed…
As a parent going through a divorce, you may assume it’s best to keep your children completely in the dark. But all this really does is stall the inevitable, since they’ll surely have questions once a parent moves out. And the longer you keep it from them, the higher the risk of them assuming it’s their fault.
Since your children will surely sense that something is wrong, try providing them with reassurance that their futures are in order, and communicate it in a safe atmosphere. This will keep your kids protected from feelings of abandonment or neglect, since their voices and feelings will be heard.
…But Keep Them Away from Conflict
Just because your children should be aware of your divorce doesn’t mean they should be strung into your marital conflicts. Above all else, your children should be protected from any struggles during and after your divorce. Venting to your children, or placing blame on your ex-partner can end up warping their perception of that parent, which is unfair to the family as a whole.
Furthermore, since young children process information differently, your venting could end up impacting their long-term perceptions and beliefs. Be open about your family’s situation, but be sure not to burden them with negative marital talk.
Maintain Consistency & Stability
Divorce is a bump in the road, and your children are along for the ride. To make that ride more comfortable for your children, it’s important to keep consistency by maintaining their original routines.
Things like pick-up and drop-off times, homework protocols, and meal times, along with household rules, should be aligned between you and your spouse so that your children’s transition is as smooth as possible. If they feel that too much is changing too fast, they could end up feeling overwhelmed and alone.
Treat Your Spouse with Respect
Co-parenting comes with a different set of rules than traditional divorce, in which each parent has their own separate styles of parenting. Since co-parents largely work together towards their children’s healthy development, being respectful of each other is a top priority. Parenting your children amid a high-conflict situation is taxing for you and your children, after all.
Maintain respect by watching how you speak to each other around the children, as well as when the other parent isn’t around. It may be smart to limit heated arguments even when the children aren’t around, since thin walls and loud voices tell the same story. Knowing when to hash out a certain issue, and keeping emotions in check when it’s time to do so, will help keep conflicts to a minimum.
Remember to Care for Yourself, Too
For your children to be happy and healthy, it helps to be happy and healthy yourself. You can’t effectively parent if your physical, mental, or emotional health are in shambles, so be sure to prioritize your own health as well.
This goes for your co-parent as well; if you notice their energy levels dropping, or that their emotions are in a low state, support them as best you can. They’re pulling half the parenting weight, after all, so lift up your co-parent if you notice their well-being suffering.
Co-Parent Effectively with a Mission Viejo Divorce Mediator
Divorce is an emotional journey to endure. On top of the bitterness and anger which often result from a formal separation, the subsequent legal battles tend to make the whole process even more painful. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction, so that they can finally move on to their next chapter. We can help with that. No matter your desired path – divorce mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services or contact us online for a free consultation.