Parenting children after divorce takes care and dedication. The marriage has ended, but you and your ex still have to put in the work to raise your kids. In many cases, this can actually feel like far more work than if you stayed married. As a divorced couple, you have to figure out custody schedules, parenting plans, health care decisions and much more.
Many parents who choose to end their marriages worry about the impact it will have on the kids. The good news is that dedicated parents can help children grow and adjust to this new situation. It does not have to be negative for them. To put their best interests and their needs first, use these tips:
1. Vow to get along with your ex
You and your ex may not be on the best of terms after the divorce, but you must promise yourself that you will work hard to get along with them. Do it for the children's sake. You do not have to forget about the problems in the marriage. You do not have to be friends. But, when making choices for the children, you have to cooperate to give them the best possible outcome. When you put them ahead of yourself, this comes easily.
2. Consider therapy or counseling
It may be hard to sit down with your ex and a therapist, but it can help. Forget about your own relationship for a moment. Get advice on how the two of you can be ideal parents. Then apply that to your relationship moving forward. Sometimes, it is hard for two people with so much history to see the big picture. Talking to a neutral third party may help you make wise decisions. The outside perspective makes a difference.
3. Plan for the realities of life
Making a schedule sounds easy, but make sure you consider how life really goes on a daily basis. For instance, one man wanted permission to randomly visit his son when the boy was living with his mother. That way, if he had a free afternoon, he could swing by for an hour and play with Legos or throw a football in the yard. Remember that life is often busy and chaotic. Plan for it.
4. Consider joint activities
Even when it's tough to think about, consider doing things together when it's too hard to do them apart. For instance, if your child wants to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, could you do it together? To preserve the magic of Christmas morning, could you spend that together? Not all couples can, but, if you can really put your kids first, it may make life easier for them.
As you and your ex work through these decisions and make your plans for the future, be sure you fully understand your legal rights.