Most of us are all too familiar with the impact of divorce. Whether we have experienced it first hand or know someone who has experienced it, we often know that it can be painful for not only the adults but also the kids. Even though divorce can be a painful grieving process, there is also the capacity for it to be healthy. Good co-parenting communication and understanding are an important factor in this! Below are my top 3 rules for co-parents to follow that have been adapted from The Cooperative Parenting Institute. For more rules and tips check out their website!
Rule # 1: Do not talk badly about the other parent …under any circumstances! More than just being hurtful, speaking negatively can leave kids feeling bad about for wanting to have a relationship with their other parent. In some cases, it can also skew your child’s perception of their other parent leading them to not wanting to spend time with or have a relationship with them. One way that kids hear these things is while their parent is on the phone talking to a friend or relative. Sarcastic comments, rolling eyes, or other ways of casting your co-parent in a bad light falls under this as well.
Rule #2: Do not talk about all the details of divorce with your children. Divorce is a grown up, adult process. Children have no business knowing all of the details regarding your divorce. This is inclusive of intimate details or reasons for the divorce (ie. affair), child support payments, asking the child where/who they want to live with, and all the other things discussed with attorneys. This type of knowledge puts kids on an adult level, a place where they do not need to be.
Rule # 3: Do not make your children feel bad for enjoying or wanting to spend time with their other parent. Your child is allowed to and deserves to have a healthy relationship with both parents. They should not be made to feel bad for wanting that. Encourage your child to call their other parent, spend time with them, invite them to events. It shows them that you care about them and promotes a safe and honest relationship.
Lastly, if you and your co-parent have a desire to work together but are finding it difficult, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Yo
u will be giving your child a wonderful gift.
If you want to learn more about how to manage divorce, visit www.ambertuckercounseling.com for information about how to schedule an appointment.
This blog is authored by my friend and colleague, Ashley Quamme, LMFT of Therapy by Ashley in Evans, GA.