Building Kids’ Resilience in Two Homes

Two homes

Sometimes, marriages don’t work out, but we would still do anything for our family. 72% of divorces occur within the first 14 years of marriage, which is when most couples still have minor children.

If you’re working through a divorce with young children, there are a lot of challenges to navigate, especially with your children. However, the good news is that you are not alone. 

Let’s talk about how to build resiliency in your children through separation or divorce.

Why Resiliency Is So Important

Resiliency is an important skill for any child to learn. It can help them find greater success in life and cope with circumstances beyond their control. Learning to bounce back from setbacks and challenges is critical for proper development.

More importantly, separation and divorce require resiliency for everyone involved. Children happen to be the most at-risk in these situations, which is why it’s so important to help them build resilience.

Remember that resiliency is a skill, not an innate personality trait. It’s not something people are born with, which is important to recognize before helping your child along.

Building Children’s Resilience Through Separation

The most important factors in building resiliency for your child are understanding their needs and reducing their stress levels. Children will learn a lot on their own, but only in the right environments. Let’s talk about how to facilitate that.

Reduce Co-Parenting Conflict

Conflicts between co-parents are bound to happen at some point. However, reducing their frequency and ferocity is essential. Your child may have shown resiliency so far in the process, but everybody has their limits.

Separation and divorce are already traumatic experiences that require resiliency. Children will need to learn how to adapt to a different living situation. Adding most stress is the last thing they need.

Never Use Children as Messengers

We live in a world with no excuses. If you have something to say to your ex, you can contact them whenever you want. You should never put your child in a position where they feel trapped in the middle.

While this is especially true for any negative messages, it holds true for all. Your child should never feel responsible for conveying information. We all know how the game of “telephone” works.

Consequently, if the child forgets or misinterprets the message, this could lead to hostility. Your child will then feel they are to blame for escalating conflicts. It’s always best to avoid putting children in this position.

Encourage Consistency

Consistency between the two households is vital for a child’s development. For example, if one parent allows video games before homework and the other doesn’t, this could lead to resentment toward the parent perceived as “more strict”.

Try to sit down with your co-parent and discuss basic rules and expectations that you need to maintain at both houses. As time passes, more of these differences are likely to arise. Discuss them as they come and try to work toward an agreement, rather than blaming the other parent without communicating.

Maintain a Routine

A predictable daily schedule is the best way to build routines for children. However, this is a challenge with two homes.

Children should be able to predict where they’ll be housed and what their days will be like in the near future. Would you like to wake up every day without any clue of where you’re going or what you’re doing? Consider your child’s point of view here.

Moreover, a set schedule is essential for children. If the child knows they spend every Wednesday and every other weekend with one parent, try your best to keep these consistent. You want them to easily predict their routines.

Also, if your child is used to waking up, having breakfast, getting dressed, watching a short episode on television, and then going to school, keep it consistent. We all like having some semblance of a routine, which is especially important when living in two separate homes. Waking up in a different location regularly is disorienting enough, so establishing a clear routine is quite helpful.

Encourage an Open Dialogue

There’s a good chance your child is worried to tell you how they are feeling, especially if you’re visibly occupied with your divorce. Let your child know that they’re more than welcome to tell you how they’re feeling, even if that means telling you hard truths you may not want to hear.

How else can you help foster resiliency? If the child does not know how to regulate their emotions, and you don’t know what emotions they are feeling, where is there room for progress?

Your child is likely experiencing big emotions due to the stress of a new life. They should not be punished for expressing themselves but encouraged to do so. Suffering in silence won’t help anyone.

Strategize With Your Co-Parent

Sit down with your co-parent away from your child and discuss a plan for building resilience in your child and how to manage their stress levels. Try to keep things as consistent as possible in each home, discuss issues away from them, and work to make your child as comfortable as possible in both homes.

Divorce is challenging for everybody, but your child has the least amount of power during the process. For this reason, it’s important to develop an inclusive plan for them with your co-parent and stick to it.

If you feel overwhelmed, that’s okay. Talk to a professional co-parenting facilitator to help build an easy transition and better resilience for your child. This way, you and your co-parent can stay on the same page.

Don’t Give Up

We know that separation and divorce are challenging. However, your children are innocent in these situations, and it’s the responsibility of their parents to give them the security, stability, and tools they need for success.

Keep reading our blog for our latest co-parenting tips, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Co Parenting a Newborn: How to Do It Successfully

Co Parenting a Newborn

When a relationship ends, making a new parenting arrangement is never easy, especially with an infant. However, discussing your co-parenting plans as soon as possible is necessary. Co-parenting a newborn needs a specific arrangement to meet their needs and nurture their well-being.

During the infant stage, a newborn baby wants to secure attachments to their parents. As they rely on a routine, devising a consistent and stable co-parenting plan is essential.

To ensure your child’s well-being, you and your co-parent must work as a team. Read on to learn how to co-parent a newborn baby.

1. As Divorced Parents, Set Your Feelings Aside

In a divorce, your emotions about the whole situation can range from sadness to anger. This makes it the most challenging when discussing sharing custody. For successful co-parenting, you must set your feelings aside and focus on the need of your child.

Co-parenting isn’t about you and your ex-spouse. You talk about the stability, happiness, and well-being of your child. Although you can feel hurt and angry, never let your feelings control your actions.

Did you know that a newborn baby can absorb what you feel? If you feel stressed, your baby reacts by crying, sneezing, or yawning. With this, never vent your frustration in front of your child.

If you need to relieve the intense emotions, you can call your family, friend, or therapist. Doing activities, such as exercising and journaling, can let off your steam, too. Note that an infant can absorb what you feel despite not showing any aggression.

For effective co-parenting, you must cooperate and communicate with the other parent.

2. Learn to Communicate

Feeling intense emotions is normal after going separate ways with your ex-partner. However, your sadness, anger, and frustration can hinder your planning. If you don’t set your feelings aside, it’s hard to communicate with the other parent.

With this, you need to clear your mind. Note that you’re communicating with your ex-partner for your child’s well-being. Having a peaceful and purposeful talk is vital when co-parenting a newborn.

To prevent any conflict, keep your baby the main topic of every discussion you have with your co-parent. Further, remember that you don’t always need to meet up with your ex-spouse. You can communicate through phone, text, or email about sharing custody.

When communicating, note that your goal is to have conflict-free co-parenting.

3. Remember Your New Roles When Co-Parenting

When you get into a relationship, there are times when you and your partner decide together. You always ask for the opinion and permission of each other on different matters. It’s challenging to work by yourselves when the relationship ends.

As a result of the separation, you must limit your opinion about how the other parent lives. It’s vital in your co-parenting relationship to recognize the issues to get involved in and not. Spending habits and other relationships are out of the question.

However, you can say something about how you must discipline your child. Acknowledging the roles and boundaries is hard. Although challenging, talking about these issues can establish a good co-parenting relationship.

4. Co-Parent as a Team

The mindset of working as a team in co-parenting a newborn is essential. As mentioned, there are matters where you and your co-parent must decide. Having a genial, consistent, and cooperative discussion can lead to effective co-parenting.

When making decisions involving the future welfare of the baby, the parents must talk about it. You and your co-parent must come up with a plan where both contribute. Some matters to discuss are your child’s medical, future education, and financial needs.

To reach an agreement, the parents must be open, honest, and direct about these matters.

Further, when co-parenting a newborn, supporting each other is helpful. For instance, breastfeeding is hard as the divorced parents don’t live together. If you’re the supporting parent, the best thing you can do is to help in nursing the baby.

Although it’s hard, working as a team is vital to reaching the child’s well-being.

5. Develop a Co-Parenting Plan

If you’re sharing custody of your infant with your ex-partner, coming up with a verbal agreement isn’t enough. Developing a contract detailing your co-parenting plan for the newborn baby is vital. A co-parenting plan is a document that states the agreed conditions about how to co-parent.

To make one, you must discuss each parent’s rights and responsibilities for the child. It must include the visitation schedule, decision-making guidelines, and other vital matters. After discussing, you can set your way up to create the conditions.

With a plan, you have structured and clear guidelines for caring for the child. Further, it strengthens your co-parenting relationship. If you build a strong bond with your co-parent, it reduces stress and secures the well-being of the child.

6. Create a Schedule

When co-parenting a newborn, consistency is vital as the infant relies on a routine. Experts encourage divorced parents to be present during infancy through regular visitation. Creating a schedule can help achieve an effective co-parenting plan.

To keep consistent contact, consider the distance and availability of the co-parents. You must not keep the baby away from either parent for several days. For infants, regular visits set expectations and boundaries.

If you’re a non-residential parent, ensure to visit the baby several times a week. When visiting, you must use the time to bond with the infant to familiarize them with your presence. You can feed, soothe, or bathe the newborn if you want.

Further, you must consider the routine and feeding time of the baby when creating a schedule. Arrange visitation and pick-up times, not in conflict with routine or wind-down. When faced with inconsistent events, the baby can start feeling anxious.

7. Make Room to Grow

As the saying goes, change is the only constant thing in life. This applies to co-parenting a newborn as their needs change as they grow. A point comes where plans can no longer meet the child’s needs.

To prevent any issues, the parents must build up the transition into their plan. Instead of using the same schedule and making an abrupt change, easing your way into the new routine is best. If you need help with suitable changes to make, you can ask for help from experts about co-parenting.

An Effective Way For Co-Parenting a Newborn

Co-parenting a newborn is different from caring for other ages. During infancy, there are more needs to meet and factors to consider. With this, you need to develop an effective co-parenting plan to ensure the child’s well-being.

For questions on effective co-parenting, you can visit the 2Houses blog for information. Consider reaching us here for queries about our co-parenting facilitator services.

How to Co-Parent with a Restraining Order

Parenting with a Restraining Order

Let’s face it: being a parent is hard. Although it is probably the best job you will ever have, it isn’t always easy or clear how to parent effectively. Even with all the parenting books available, there are still those gray areas that don’t take into account the different personalities of each child, or the parenting style of each parent. To make things even harder, you and your child’s other parent are now exes, and you have a Restraining Order against you, and you are ordered to co-parent. That’s a whole jumbled-up mess in and of itself. What should you do now that you find yourself in separate households? Who gets to see the child on their birthday or holidays? How do you adjust to downsizing from a two-income household to a one-income household? There are so many questions that desperately need answers. While there are no hard-and-fast rules for co-parenting with a Restraining Order, there are some general do’s and don’t’s that will guide you through the multitude of issues of co-parenting with a Restraining Order.

Restraining Orders in General

Restraining Orders are orders that are signed by a judge that directs people what they should and should not do. They are automatic in divorces, and some of the restrictions automatically apply to divorcing couples. For example, the parties are not allowed to move their child out of the state or sell property while the divorce case is still pending. All the restrictions are in place to protect both parties from physical or mental harm, protect the child’s best interest, and to preserve assets. Both parties are informed of the Restraining Order when they get the divorce papers. Each person may contest any part of the Restraining Order and request that it be removed within 30 days of receiving a copy. Most of the Restraining Orders end when the divorce is finalized.

Obeying the Restraining Order

When the Restraining Order was signed, it had conditions of do’s and don’t’s for co-parenting. Possibly the most important rule to successfully co-parenting with a Restraining Order is to follow the order’s conditions. Not only will doing so most likely make things go smoother with you and your ex, but it will also look favorable the next time you are in Court. If the judge sees that you are obeying the Order and doing your part to co-parent in a way that is best for your child, he or she will be more likely to grant you custody, or decide if you will be allowed to see your child at all.          

Custodial Decisions

Judges must make custodial decisions that he or she believes are best for the child. The judge will take into account a plethora of things, such as the individual needs of the child, whether the parents communicate well, and any domestic violence. Courts have agreed that domestic violence is never what is best for the child. In a divorce case involving alleged abuse, the judge could order supervised visits, pause any visitation, or terminate it completely until the domestic violence offender finishes a parenting or counseling class. Therefore, it is in you and your child’s best interest to obey the rules of your Order. You will be more likely to stay in your child’s life, and your child will see how to handle disappointing or challenging circumstances.

Communication with Your Co-Parent

Communicating with your co-parent while there is an active Restraining Order can cause additional trouble. Most of the time, Restraining Orders contain a clause forbidding all contact between the two parties. However, successful co-parenting requires some level of communication. Since contacting your co-parent is an issue in a Restraining Order, it’s best to end all communication with your co-parent. If there are situations that you need to discuss with your co-parent regarding your child, there are several options for routing around this obstacle to successful co-parenting with a restraining order.

First, consider hiring an attorney of your choice to communicate on your behalf. This avenue allows you to relay your wishes without going against the Court’s rules, or possibly affecting your chance of parenting in the future. He or she can perform the leg work of each of the following tips.

  1. Ask the Court for an exemption to the Restraining Order that allows for discussing co-parenting matters.
  2. Apply for permission to communicate through phone calls, texting, emailing, and any social media outlet.
  3. Request that both parties can utilize a third party to communicate with each other.
  4. Consider asking for permission to use an actual notebook or diary to discuss any parenting information. Either the child or another party would hand the notebook to the other parent, then back to the original parent.
  5.  Think about requesting to use a reliable co-parenting app. These apps allow both parents to send messages, share pictures, stay on schedule, track expenses, including shared ones, and many other functions. There are some apps that are free and some that charge a monthly fee.

If the Restraining Order states that you both may not go near each other, it will most likely designate someone that can get your child to you and your ex. This could be a friend, family member, or a visitation officer. Ask your family law attorney for suggestions of a Children’s Contact Services company, if the judge ordered that one be used.

Most of the time, Restraining Orders determine a certain amount of physical space that must be kept between the parents. This can make attending family and school functions hard. To keep from disobeying the judge’s Order, it might be helpful to plan different times that each person will get there, adjust seating locations, or to take turns with who goes to which events. Just remember that it is the restrained person’s duty to adhere to the Order and to ensure no clause of the order is violated, even if the other parent initiates contact.

Need More Help Co-Parenting with a Restraining Order?

If you are still experiencing issues that are keeping you from successfully co-parenting with a Restraining Order, consider hiring a family law attorney, if you haven’t already. They have the knowledge and expertise to know the legal ins-and-outs of co-parenting with a Restraining Order. They can file paperwork, petition the Court for certain requests, and execute many other legal-related dealings. This will save you time and energy you need to effectively co-parent.

The Take-Away

Divorce brings hard feelings, confusion, hurt, sadness, bitterness, anger, and many more feelings. These feelings don’t go away quickly. And, divorce becomes even more difficult when a child is involved. But successful co-parenting is necessary, especially when a Restraining Order is involved. But it absolutely is possible. Do everything in your power to follow the Order and make things go smoothly for you, your ex, and most importantly, your child. Make sure that you are able to be there for your child by following the terms and conditions of your Order. Show your child that he or she is worth putting aside your own desires, such as the desire to be right or to be heard. If you need help navigating the jungle that is co-parenting, research and hire a family law attorney in your area. You and your child’s relationship will thank you.