Studies show that children of separation tend to grow up faster than kids from intact families. In addition to other challenges, they need to adapt to change, develop coping mechanisms, and they generally have more responsibilities.
Let children be children.
Allow them a healthy childhood. You can minimize the impact on your children through conscious co-parenting.
Children should not be put in the middle of adult issues. They should not serve as your outlet to voice your stress or frustration with your co-parent. They should not serve as your messenger to the other parent. They shouldn’t be bribed or coerced into taking sides for any reason. Further, you should never talk negatively about your co-parent in their presence, even if you think they aren’t listening. They are watching your every move – every gesture, subtle facial expression, and every eye roll.
Giving reassurance that the separation is not their fault will minimize their pain and help them to develop healthy coping mechanisms.
“Often the right path is the one that may be hardest for you to follow. But the hard path is also the one that will make you grow as a human being.” – Karen Mueller Coombs
Talk Through Issues and Initiate Peaceful Resolution
A damaged relationship is not irreversible when both parties sincerely put in the effort.
Co-parenting isn’t easy. As with any other relationship, you will have disagreements and misunderstandings.
It is important to discuss these issues as they occur and to do so in a civilized and amicable manner.
Put the Focus on the Kids
Set aside your personal feelings and focus solely on resolving the matter for the benefit of your kids.
Communicating and talking through issues as they arise will help reduce conflict, build your trust in each other, and help to establish mutual understanding.
There may be times when you need to walk away in order to gather your thoughts, but do not let unresolved issues build up over time.
Co-parenting requires a lot of ‘give and take’, so choose your battles wisely and always strive for compromise.
There will likely be times when you must ‘agree to disagree’, but as long as you have shared your side and considered your co-parent’s perspective, you will be able to move on in a healthy manner.
Remember, your children will benefit by having the diverse influence of both you and your co-parent equally involved in their lives.
“The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them.” – Tom Crum.