According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, divorce impacts many families, and a number of divorces occur in households with children under the age of 18. Parenting is challenging and can be even more so when divorce occurs. It’s common for concerns and questions to arise about how to best co-parent.
Co-parenting is about focusing on the kids and their well-being during separation and beyond. This can be incredibly difficult, especially in high conflict separations. However, with the right strategies, co-parenting can help kids positively adjust and thrive.
The first step is creating a plan with healthy boundaries and expectations for how you will co-parent your kids. While we won’t discuss all the pieces involved in determining healthy boundaries and expectations in this blog, we will touch on tips to help you get started.
Collaboration is Essential for Effective Co-Parenting
In order to create a plan, open and honest communication about your child’s best interests is needed. Separations are typically emotionally charged situations. This can make effectively communicating with one another a challenge. However, it’s important to set aside your emotions when talking with your co-parent about what’s best for your kids. As much as possible, try to remember communication with one another will affect your child one way or another.
Regularly communicating about your children is critical to successful co-parenting. Establish a sense of collaboration and make it all about the children. Be willing to discuss your child’s needs and make adjustments as needed. Doing so together will support your kids in positive ways. And if interacting with your co-parent is challenging, consider communicating through emails, texts, or the phone. Remember your focus is on your child’s well-being.
Co-Parenting Tips: Identify Rules, Establish Routine, and Find a New Rhythm
Children have a tendency to thrive when they know what to expect and have structure. This is especially true during times of change and transition such as when separation occurs. Here are a few tips to set up your child for a successful adjustment.
3 Co-Parenting Tips from a Therapist in Louisville, CO
- Create consistency for your child(ren). With separation comes upheaval in the day-to-day of a household. Try to maintain your child’s routine as much as possible regardless of which parent they’re with. Find ways to support the transition from one parent to another. For example, you may create a whiteboard calendar that shows your child what days they will be with which parent.
- Establish ground rules as co-parents. Consider how you can both get on the same page about your child’s best long-term interests. Discuss topics such as completing homework, discipline, and reward, and electronics use. The more consistent you are with one another, the better it is for your child. Resist the urge to be the “good” or “fun” parent.
- Agree to speak respectfully of one another in front of your children. You may have a lot of feelings about what happened in your relationship or marriage. However, it can be detrimental to your child to hear negative or critical comments about their parents.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of You!
Going through a separation can be a painful process. Make sure you carve out time to take care of yourself. Attending to your basic needs such as getting enough sleep, exercise, and eating well can be really important during an emotionally charged time. So can reaching out to supportive friends and family, engaging in passions and interests, and setting aside time for quiet and rest.
Therapy for Life Transitions in Boulder County, CO Can Help You With Separation and Co-Parenting Concerns
For many of us, we need a safe space to sort through the complexity of changes that result when we separate. On an individual level, we may be wondering how to best move forward in our life when our relationship ends and we begin the task of rebuilding. At our Louisville, CO-based office, we support individuals like you navigating these tough life transitions.
Additionally, we work with couples navigating separation and co-parenting. Couples benefit from setting aside time in therapy to redefine their relationship, set expectations, and boundaries, and co-create a plan for their children.
At Vitality Therapeutic Services, our mental health clinicians are here to support you and your family. Please contact our Louisville, CO-based therapists today to get started.
This post is part of our Life Transitions Blog Post Series. Read more about this and other life transitions:
- Why Are Life Transitions So Tough to Navigate?
- 3 Biggest Tests New Parents in Colorado Face
- Navigating Family “Stuff” in Premarital Counseling
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