By Tracy Fischer
The decision has been made and action has been taken. Whether your divorce was mutually agreed upon or contested, what should be agreed upon is the direction for raising your children. Whether you are the mother or father, you need to make sure that you are parenting together.
Your children have the right and need to freely love both parents. You may have bitter feelings or feelings of indifference towards your ex-spouse, but don’t let those feelings ruin your child’s relationship with you or their other parent. Those feelings may have a greater negative impact on your relationship with your child than you may have expected.
Putting together a parenting plan will help each party see that the needs of the children are the utmost priority. If the parents cannot agree, attorneys and the courts will have to intervene to resolve visitation, support and custody.
What does it mean to parent together? It is the best alternative to the situation that the family has been placed in.
- Having a comprehensive parenting plan that addresses responsibilities of each parent. Be understanding as to the needs of the child/children.
- Communicating with your ex-spouse. If schedules change, communicate. If there is an illness, communicate.
- Honor the parenting plan that has been established.
- Be as consistent as possible in discipline. Nothing causes more confusion than completely different discipline actions.
- Always think about the children and their best interests first.
- As time goes by schedules may need to change; set up regular times to revisit and revise your parenting plan.
You have seen divorced parents who parent and interact well and you have seen divorces parents who don’t. You may have wondered why ex-spouses can’t get along even for the children.
Emulating the parents who co-parent in a thoughtful and caring way is not only better for your children but also for your emotional and mental health. You have the opportunity to check in with your children and see how they are adjusting to their new life, with parents living in two separate homes.
It will take a great deal of work on both sides, but parenting together is the best choice in raising your children and working through the struggles that may occur. Having a solid parenting plan may be the best solution to a difficult situation.