Divorce can be challenging, particularly if child custody issues arise. For a lot of divorcing couples, co-parenting becomes the new normal. Raising children separately, in two different households, can be quite tricky. If it’s not done properly many children can develop behavioral issues.
A Psychology Today article offers some good tips for how to co-parent effectively. Nothing is foolproof, but even methods people don’t want to try can inspire ideas for something else. Here are a few of the tips.
• Make consistent rules for both households. Predictability can be comforting for kids, so keeping similar rules regarding homework, chores and bedtime can be helpful to make their lives consistent.
• Stay consistent with extended family members. It can be a good idea to talk with your estranged spouse to make sure you see eye to eye on how much time kids should be spending with extended family.
• Give frequent updates to the children’s other parent. It may be difficult to want to communicate with an ex-spouse, but it’s best to share information with each other directly than for one of the parents to hear something from their child first.
• Come to an agreement on behavioral guidelines and boundaries. If one parent is very lax and the other is strict, the child will get inconsistent messages, and this can lead them to act out amidst the confusion.
• Stay positive. It’s best not to say disparaging things about an ex-spouse in front of the children, and if they talk negatively about the other parent, call them on it.
Source: Psychology Today, “The do’s and don’ts of co-parenting well,” Deborah Serani, March 28, 2012