Co-parenting: 5 Tips for Raising Well-adjusted Kids After Divorce
Divorce is hard and the truth is that most times, married couples never really part ways on the best note. A lot of disappointment, pain, anger and resentment may accompany a divorce and linger long after a couple have parted ways.
This kind of baggage becomes tougher to navigate where there are children involved and both parties have to continue their parenting duties to their children.
Divorced parents may need to put in some extra effort to help their children move through their growing years of childhood to adulthood in the most balanced way possible. They need to show a lot of responsibility and maturity to achieve this
Here are five tips to help divorced parents who have the task of co-parenting their children raise balanced and well-adjusted children:
1. Find common grounds and agree on important basics
One of the most common mistakes among divorced couples involved in co-parenting is to abandon discussing common rules that both parties can agree on in guiding and raising their children. Children need stability and consistency of values to enjoy balance; co-parents must make the effort to set aside all differences and barriers to conversation and sit down to talk about basic principles that the children will experience in both their households and their relationship with them.
Such agreements go a long way to prevent children from taking advantage of loopholes and experiencing inconsistencies that may affect or handicap that functioning or relationships in adult life.
2. Don’t bad mouth each other
Divorced parents are doing their children a lot of disservice when they badmouth the other parent and/or allow friends and family members to badmouth their ex. It is a terrible thing that affects children more than it appears. It often confuses and embitters them; it warps their psyche and plants the seed of manipulative behaviour in many of them.
Besides that, it often backfires on whichever parent is involved in such as children often end up secretly or openly despising the parent who openly condemned and disparaged their other parent.
It is also wrong to tell children about every offense or flaw of the other partner in the marriage. it is dangerous because it usually goes beyond colouring their view about the said person to colouring their views about the world in a way that affect their functioning and relationships with others.
3. Don’t make them your messengers or middlemen
Children, whether young or even adult are overwhelmed and confused when they feel like they are caught up in their parents issues.
Divorced couples who have to co-parent need to avoid getting their children in the middle of whatever on-going issues they may have.
Sending the kids to pass on sensitive messengers, to express displeasure or challenge decisions is wrong and is hurting their worldview in a way that may later affect their relationships and regard for authority in life.
4. Don’t encourage rudeness to the other parent
Encouraging, applauding or condoning a child being rude to the other parent is a bad trend to encourage for children.
If and when when a parent has genuinely defaulted or failed, divorced couples who have to co-parent their children should strive to console and encourage their children express their pain and displeasure without rudeness. Doing this teaches them that good manners are valuable and to be practiced at all times.
Where a parent is involved in behaviour that endangers or is damaging to the children, the other parents should rather make efforts to have the children removed from such situation than to encourage rudeness or unnecessary confrontation from the kids to the other parent.
5. Always show good example
No matter what parents say, children learn from and copy more what they do. Co-parents should commit themselves individually and together (if possible) to lay a good foundation of good examples for the children to follow.
Kindness, faithfulness, good manners, hard work, integrity, fairness, perseverance, forgiveness and love; these are some of the values that parents should transmit to their children through examples in their daily living and interaction. Nobody can take such an examples away from them.