The decision has been made and action was taken. Whether your divorce was mutual or contested, what should be agreed upon is the direction for raising your children. (This is taking into consideration that there was no abuse or the parent was not an absent parent in the marriage). Whether you are the parent who has gained child custody or the parent who has visitation, you need to make sure that you are parenting together.
Your child has (or children have) the right to freely love both parents. You may have bitter feelings or feelings of indifference towards your ex, but don’t let those feelings ruin your child’s relationship with you or their other parent. You may find out that those feelings may have a greater negative impact on your relationship with your child/children than expected.
Using children to continually punish an ex is debilitating to all those involved.
Putting together a parenting plan will help each party see that the needs of the children are the utmost priority. If the parties cannot agree, the courts will intervene to resolve visitation, support and custody.
What does it mean to parent together?
It is the best alternative to the situation that the family has been placed. It means:
- Having a comprehensive parenting plan that addresses responsibilities of each parent. Be understanding as to the needs of the child/children.
- Communicating with your ex-spouse. If schedules change, communicate. If there is an illness, communicate.
- Honor the parenting plan that has been established.
- Be as consistent as possible in discipline. Nothing causes more confusion than completely different discipline actions.
- Always think about the children and their best interests first.
You have seen good divorced parents and bad divorced parents. You maybe have been involved in conversations wondering why the ex-spouses can’t get along even for the children.
But you may have also had the conversation praising the ex-couple that are pleasantly co-parenting – being communicative, a parenting team, even though they are divorced.
While you shouldn’t be concerned what other people say, you should be concerned what your children say and how they are adjusting to their new life, being separated from a parent they love.
It will take a great deal of work on both sides, but parenting together is the best choice in raising your children and working through the struggles that may occur. Having a solid parenting plan may be the best solution to a difficult situation.