A divorce is a big transition for all parties involved. Finding how to parent either as a single parent after or co-parent with an ex can be difficult.
Tips for better parenting after a divorce:
Allow time to Grieve
Divorce is a loss whether it was welcomed or not. You, your ex and your children need to be allowed time to grieve that loss. Children may need help understanding what is happening. You and your ex need time to grieve the loss of the relationship. Allowing that time and fully going through the grieving process is important in order to fully heal.
Continue to be consistent with Consequences
It would be easy to think that since the kids are going through so much change with a divorce that you could just let some things slide. However, what the kids need the most in a transition as big as a divorce is consistency. Being consistent shows them that some things are going to remain the same, that the divorce only changes a part of their lives and it gives them some normalcy throughout the transition.
Do Not put your child in the Middle
It’s easy to forget that kids don’t want to take sides. No matter what your ex does to upset you, don’t say anything about your ex to your kids that would force them to choose sides. The kids just want a healthy relationship with both parents. Saying negative things about your ex forces the kids to pick one or the other. Bite your tongue and tell you friends, family or counselor about the things your ex does that upsets you. Your kids don’t need to hear it. Another good rule of thumb for this, especially if your kids are adolescents or older, is to keep your comments about your ex off of social media. Just don’t do it.
Have a plan for when your ex parents Differently
It’s going to happen, the kids come to your house from your ex’s house and say “well mom lets us stay up until 10:00” or “dad says we don’t have to go to soccer practice anymore”. Whatever it may be, know that it is going to happen and have a plan for how to deal with it. The first thing you should remember is to stay calm and don’t say anything negative about the other parent. You have no control over the other parent and you have no jurisdiction over their house. You cannot change the rules that they put into place. Try saying something like, “that may be a rule at mom’s house but at my house you know that the rule is bedtime is at 9:00”.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when you are dealing with parenting after divorce. For more ideas on better ways to co-parent check out this article:
If you are struggling with any of these things after a divorce please contact Amani Counseling today to schedule your FREE consultation. We offer parenting and divorce courses as well as individual counseling for adults or children.