Divorce is difficult for every person who goes through it, and it is especially hard if children are involved. Children often process divorce differently depending on the circumstances, but most of them feel, at least at some point, fear, confusion, guilt, and even hopelessness.
It is critical to think of the children and what they are going through, mentally and emotionally, even if they aren’t speaking about how they feel.
In fact, most children do not express their feelings about the divorce because many of them are learning how to label their emotions, so they do not have the tools to communicate how they feel.
It is important for adults to take charge and ensure their children’s well-being and safety. While it can be challenging at times, many parents choose to co-parent after the divorce as a way to continue playing an important, vital role in their children’s lives.
Studies have shown that children do much better in the short and long term when their parents take this route after divorce.
Co-parenting involves open communication between the parents and good faith, which means that both parties have to be willing to act in an honest and trustworthy way in order to maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship.
In addition, successful co-parenting requires:
- That parents put the best interests of their children first
- A solid parenting plan, in many cases, which outlines everything from schedules to what will happen in case of an emergency, last-minute change of plans or disagreement between the parents.
- Commitment on both parts to be flexible with one another, knowing that life happens
- Being willing to pick up the slack for the other parent sometimes. If there is an emergency, for example, or one of the parents has a business trip, it is essential for the parents to work together and collaborate.
Many parents who choose this form of parenting find that if they follow the principles laid out above, their relationship with each other and with the children is much better and closer.
It is also critical to be honest with the children. Parents should understand that children feel safest when they know what is going on. Communicating with them openly but in language that is appropriate for their age and maturity level is essential to making this arrangement work.