What are some co-parenting skills after a divorce?

Co-parenting means that both parents are involved in their children's daily lives on an active level. The key to success is in how the divorced parents communicate and their ability to discuss the arrangements that are best for their children. Co-parenting can be a challenge for divorced parents; they share responsibility for their child's upbringing and welfare, working as a team even though they are no longer spouses. Divorce is stressful for the whole family, and co-parenting can help develop the children's sense of stability and their relationship with both parents. When both parents cooperate to attend to the needs of their children, the children's adjustment to the new family situation is smoother. The children should not be at the center of the conflict, and ex-spouses have to be able to make decisions together regarding their children, including issues of education, discipline, health, social life and finances. Children need consistency and a sense of security, and when their divorced parents cooperate on major issues, with the same set of rules, the children will know what to expect even though they have to deal with transitions from one parent's house to the other.

Children may feel anger, anxiety, guilt and other emotions after divorce. The parents' job is to put their own feelings, which may include hurt and resentment, aside for the benefit of their children. Minimize the level of conflict and work on personal stress management, always placing the focus on the children. Effective communication and avoiding negative messages between the parents is of the essence, and focusing on the children should always be the common goal.




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