CleanBreak

Eastern Ontario’s resource for Life Transitions, Separation & Divorce
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Co-parenting after divorce

How to talk to your kids about divorce

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What’s the point of having a co-operative parenting relationship with your ex?

And how can you co-parent successfully after divorce?

Did you know that kids whose divorced parents have a cooperative relationship:

  • Feel secure
  • Benefit from the consistency 
  • Better understand problem solving
  • Have a healthy example to follow 
  • Are mentally and emotionally healthier than kids whose divorced parents don’t co-operate?

It’s true!

And it is arguably just as beneficial, if not more so, for kids to have co-operatively parenting divorced parents as it is for them to have parents who stay together although they are unhappy and actively fighting.

Here are some tips for successful, co-operative parenting:

1. Successful co-parenting means that your own emotions must take a back seat to the needs of your children.

It’s often easier said than done to keep your emotions about your ex to yourself, as you probably know, so get counselling and get it fast if you’re having a hard time.

If you can get clear or at least get heard about all the things you’re feeling—and it’s OK if there’s a lot, that’s to be expected—it can be easier to keep your cool when your ex does the same old stupid stuff.

Having a time and place to put your emotions helps keep them from leaking out in ways you don’t enjoy, at the wrong time and place, and possibly causing you to behave in ways you will regret.

2. Never use kids as messengers. 

When you use your children to convey messages to your co-parent, it puts them in the center of your conflict. It’s hard enough for adults to mediate a conflict between people they love.

Don’t ask your kids to do it. It’s asking them to do more than their brains and hearts ca handle and it will have a negative effect.

3. Never say negative things about your ex to your children, or make your kids feel like they have to choose between you and their other parent.

Conflicting loyalties is a terrible dilemma for an adult, let alone for a kid. It breaks our brains to try to hold two conflicting truths at once, so don’t ask your kids to do it. As with asking them to carry messages, it’s more they can handle and it will hurt them.

It can be a real challenge to co-parent successfully.

If you’re looking for emotional support, and help coping with co-parenting, our contact info is below.

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