Kids are far more resilient than most adults believe. According to Pew Research, fewer than half of the kids in America live in traditional households where a mom and dad are happily married. So chances are, your kids have known there was trouble in paradise for quite awhile and may even have had their own support system outside of the home long before you announced plans to divorce. Nonetheless, well-rounded kids look to their parents for guidance and support over anyone else in their lives. And parents who insist on doing whats right and putting the needs of their children above all else during and after their Michigan divorce often attempt a co-parenting routine. While co-parenting isnt for everyone, with the right tips and outlook its nowhere near as hard as may otherwise seem.
Provide an Accepting Household
Regardless of how much support or time your kids have had with the idea of divorce, theyre going to be sad. Understand and accept this fact while encouraging your kids to talk openly about it. Its not anyones fault, and mommy and daddy are not bad people because they fell out of love or discovered different life paths. Your kids need basic care, stability, limits, attention, and parents who are able and willing to express love. Encourage them to share their moods without judgment. Meanwhile, keep the conversation about the other parent light and positive on your end and your kids may include you in more of the big stuff down the line.
Commit to Open Dialogue with the Ex
Leave the past in the past and focus on the future. This requires open communication between co-parenting adultsthe latter word being key here. Even if you cant yet stand the sight of your ex, technology offers plenty of options for communicating parenting needs. Texting, voice mail, email, social media (as long as its always positive), or even snail mail letters can work in a pinch. There are also websites and forums that provide graphs, charts, and schedule plans. Print one off and send it or fill one out and email it to ensure youre always on the same team.
Agree on Household Rules, Personal Boundaries, and Behavioural Guidelines
Kids need consistency. As fun as roller coaster parenting may seem to themgetting away with rudeness, staying up late, lack of curfewthe consequences of their actions reflect parental weakness; and those consequences can compound for years to come. Research proves that children raised with a unified parental approach are healthier and happier throughout life. So, agree to identical rules in both homes and stick to the plan for the sake of the kids.
Expect This to Be a Challenge
Co-parenting isnt easy, but it can be the best thing for all involved. Parents will need continuous communication, be able to negotiate down to the tiniest details and know each others’ parenting schedules at all times. Logistics, rules, and concessions will need to be reviewed on a regular basis. You simply dont have time for that well-deserved breakdown. But if you do this correctly, you may discover you can forego it altogether.
Accept and Extend Responsibility to the Extended Family
Why not allow well-meaning and responsible grandparents, aunts and uncles, close friends, and even the exs new love to get involved? The more positivity, structure, and love your children feel now, the happier and healthier theyll be in the future. And the right support can give you some extra freedom to get back on your feet and start that bright new future you deserve. Check with your Michigan divorce lawyer to see if co-parenting is the perfect fit for your family.