After a divorce, it is common for children to act out in negative ways. While the vast majority of children will bounce back from the emotional stress or turmoil created during the separation, parents may still be alarmed when their child’s behavior changes. Rest assured that your divorce did not ruin your child’s life, and make a commitment to work through bad behavior with your former spouse in a way that is healthy and productive.
Supportive Co-Parenting Helps
According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, researchers found that children who were acting out or having problems controlling their behavior after their parents’ divorce improved when their parents put on a united front. By actively supporting their former spouse in front of their children, parents were able to prevent and correct negative behavioral problems which were otherwise difficult to change.
Parents who successfully co-parent their children have several traits in common. These parents recognize that their children are more important than the issues which ended their marriage, and work to make sure that their children know they are loved no matter what. As a result, these children feel secure, are more confident, are better problem solvers, and have better self-esteem.
Tips for Successfully Co-Parenting
Co-parenting isn’t easy, especially when there are unresolved feelings or conflicts between you and your ex. However, raising healthy and happy children is worth sacrificing your feelings of pride or your anger toward your former spouse. If you are planning to co-parent with your ex, work on following these tips to improve your family relationships.
Leave Your Children Out of Your Conflicts
For many people, speaking with or being in the same room with an ex-spouse is difficult. No matter how angry or hurt you are by your ex, make a commitment to work together for your children. That means being respectful of the other’s time, being civil in front of the children, and putting up a united front on important issues. Make sure that your children stay in the dark about your issues with your former spouse, and never vent to your children about your ex or use them as messengers to communicate.
Separate Feelings from Behavior
Your former spouse will probably make you angry or hurt your feelings at some point after your divorce. It is important to separate these feelings from your actions—just because your spouse made you angry does not mean that your children should be punished. Learn to put your personal feelings aside and focus on what would be best for your children.
Work On Improving Your Relationship
Some former spouses are never going to be best friends. However, this does not mean that each party cannot work on the relationship. If things are tense with your former partner, try and view that person as you would a work colleague that you don’t like. While you do not have to be friends with that person, you do have to be civil and professional while at work. Take this same attitude and apply it to your relationship with your former spouse.
Let Small Issues Go
Every issue does not have to be a major fight. You and your ex may have different parenting styles, and it is healthy to let minor issues or conflicts go. Every small complaint does not need to be resolved, and your relationship with your ex will likely improve if you concentrate only on major problems or issues.
Help for Divorcing Parents
At Pacific Northwest Family Law, our attorneys understand that dealing with your ex can be difficult. If you need help finalizing your divorce or negotiating a parenting plan, our attorneys can help you create an agreement that fits your needs. Our goal is to help your family move forward in the best way possible, so that you and your children can concentrate on creating a new and better life.
To schedule a consultation with our office, contact us today by calling 509-572-3700.