Divorce is never easy, and the situation gets a little complicated with children in the thick of things.
Both parents have a responsibility of supporting children after divorce. Being divorced doesn’t mean your ex can’t share the trials, tribulations, and joys of raising the children you had while you were together. Co-parenting is when both parents get time with the kids and share responsibilities.
Divorce and Children
The United States ranks 6th among countries with the highest divorce rates in the world. There’s no denying that divorce takes a toll on children. However, not all kids react the same way when faced with the prospect of their parents separating. Some adjust to their new situation well, while others do not.
Let’s take a look at some stats and see how your divorce record can affect on children.
· 50% of American children will witness their parents getting divorced.
· One out of 10 kids whose parents got divorced will witness three or more breakups.
· After a divorce, children are 50% more likely to develop health problems.
· Children who live with their biological parents are 20 – 35 percent healthier physically than kids who live in a home missing one or both parents.
· A study in 1980 showed that children living with a parent who has divorced multiple times had lower grades when compared to peers.
· The same study also pointed out that the kids were less pleasant and depressed all the time.
· Teenagers raised by a single parent or belonging to a blended family are 300% more likely to need psychological help.
There are plenty more where these stats came from, but you get the idea of how divorce affects the well-being of a child. Co-parenting brings familiarity and adds continuity to children’s lives. Growing up with both biological parents, despite not living under one roof, brings stability and confidence to young kids.
Here are a few real-life strategies to make co-parenting work for you.
1. Remember that You and Your Ex are Different.
You have your own parenting style, and so does your ex. Always remember that you are two different people. Don’t expect your ex to do the same things you do. It’s OK to establish rules and boundaries when it comes to the kids, but not on the way your ex does things. Try to view your ex as a co-parent first, before anything else.
2. Always Practice Empathy.
The children must take precedence over everything, including personal feelings towards your ex. Practice empathy by putting yourself in your kid’s and your ex’s shoes. Let the children voice their opinions and don’t forget that your ex loves the kids just as much as you do. Always try to be helpful, show compassion, and be kind so you’d get the same treatment.
3. Respect the Kid’s Time with Your Ex.
Your children spend time with their other biological parent (your ex) for a reason. Value their time spent together by not nagging your ex and your children about anything. Avoid calling past your kid’s bedtime or during dinner. Make goodbyes short and sweet. No crying when handing the kids off to your ex, either!
4. Be Flexible with your Schedule.
Kids are emotionally scarred when their parents argue about visitation schedules in front of them. If you have a court-ordered parenting calendar, you don’t have to follow it all the time. If there’s an event that your ex wants to take your kids to and if the children are raring to go, let them. Your kids will thank you for the freedom to choose when they grow up.
5. Active Communication.
Always communicate directly with your ex and avoid using the kids as a go-between. Encourage your children to get in touch with their dad/mom (your ex), especially during birthdays or special days such as Mother’s/Father’s Day. Keep your ex updated by sending photos of the kids, including report cards, grades, and other accomplishments. Allow your ex to be a large part of your children’s lives by keeping him/her updated.
If you have an amicable enough relationship with your former significant other, raising your kids isn’t that hard. Co-parenting can help children cope with the effects of divorce and lead happy lives. By practicing these five, real-life co-parenting tips, you’re giving your children a better chance at a brighter future.