Even if you are divorced or separated from your spouse, if you have children together, it is important that you work as a team to benefit your children. This may be difficult for many couples, so it helps to have some strategies in place for raising a happy and healthy family.
So, if you are raising a child with your ex, here are ten tips to help you do it:
It always helps when you can put yourself into someone else’s shoes. Whether it be your ex, who needs some accommodations or your children who miss your ex (even when it’s not your ex’s turn to have them), practicing empathy and treating others the way you want to be treated helps maintain good relationships.
Yes, you may have a court-mandated schedule for sharing time with your kids. But if your ex wants to take the kids to a concert or sporting event, you shouldn’t be so rigid that you would deny that. After all, next time, it might be you who wants to do an activity with the kids when it’s not your turn.
While it is important for children to have consistent values and boundaries in both households, it is also reasonable to assume that your ex will not handle every situation the way you would. There may be significant issues for which you’ll need to confront your ex, but let the little stuff go.
There are many ways these days that you can communicate with your ex. If you can’t do it face to face right now, communicate by phone, text, or email – or even through one of many co-parenting apps currently available. Just make sure you communicate directly with them and not by sending messages through your children.
You got divorced for a reason, but your ex will still be your co-parent until the kids are grown. So you still need to be able to communicate and cooperate. If you find this difficult, counselling may be a good investment.
When sending your kids off with your ex, it is usually best to keep it short and sweet. If you cry or give your ex a long list of instructions, your kids may start to feel guilty about leaving you – and that isn’t good for them or you.
If your ex only has your kids on weekends, don’t interrupt their time together with endless texts and calls. If you miss your kids, call a friend instead whom with you can talk. Allow your children to foster a good relationship with their other parent without having to feel guilty about not being with you.
When your child gets a good grade, has their first dance recital, or advances a belt level in their martial arts class – and your ex can’t be there – share that moment with them by sending a text or photo. Let your children know that you include their other parent in their special moments.
When your kids miss your ex, encourage them to call. Remind them of your ex’s birthday and other special occasions and help them pick out a gift or card. Your children will be happiest when they can freely express their love toward both parents.
While you may miss your children when they are with your ex, it is an excellent opportunity for you to recharge your emotional batteries. Take the time to see friends, get a massage, take a class, or enjoy a little me-time. Taking care of yourself during this time can help you be refreshed and fully present when your kids come back!
When co-parents can work together in the best interests of their children, it is ideal. Sometimes, however, parents may require some legal intervention from a qualified family lawyer. If you are in this position, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.