The most crucial component of successful co-parenting and child happiness is communication. Both parents must communicate amicably and effectively with each other. They must also facilitate positive communication between the child and parents, as well as the child and siblings.
Children often blame themselves for the end of their parents’ relationship as a way of understanding a confusing and scary change in life. It is important to communicate to your child that they are in no way responsible for what is happening. By stressing this message, you can help your child avoid developing anxiety or resentment over what they perceive to be the loss of a parent.
Getting used to having separated parents who live in different places can be confusing to the children and lead to the idea that he or she must choose between mom and dad. Use these tips to help your child deal with the feelings of “choosing” a parent:
- Let your child know that they never have to choose between mom and dad
- At the same time, let them know it’s okay to want to spend time each parent
- Make it clear that you want them to spend time with their other parent
- Have an open channel of communication so your child isn’t afraid to tell you if he or she wants to spend time with the other parent
Children are often reluctant to communicate openly during a divorce or separation because they are afraid their parents will be sad if they don’t take mom or dad’s side. Questions like “Will mom be sad if I want to spend the weekend at dad’s house?” or “Will dad be mad if mom takes me shopping for school clothes?” are common for children of divorced parents. By encouraging open communication, reassuring the child that he or she is not to blame, and stressing that neither parent will be hurt or sad by the child’s requests, you can help your child navigate this confusing time.
Along with communication, organization is essential to avoid many common issues encountered with kids of divorce. By keeping an organized handle on your child’s life, coparenting can be a rewarding partnership, rather than a source of conflict. Simple acts like calling the other parent if you are running late or have a change of plans can keep everyone happy and avoid conflict and resentment.
Organizational tools, like the 2houses website or mobile app, allow you and your co-parent to have a shared source of information pertaining to your child including a calendar, journal, photo album, finance notes, messages, and an info bank. By using this app, which lets you instantly share information synched to your phones, many of the hassles of coordinating drop offs and pick ups, finance issues, and relaying information of your child, can all be done with a few simple clicks.
By focusing on positive communication and effective organization, divorce doesn’t have to be the end of a family, but can instead facilitate a loving co-parented family bound by respect, joy and, happiness.