Co-parenting After a Separation or Divorce
If you’ve decided to separate or get a divorce, your next most important decision could be about co-parenting. People who separate but continue to work cooperatively as parents have a very positive effect on their children’s development and adjustment to living in two separate households.
What is co-parenting?
Despite beginning with a sense of joy and commitment, about 50% of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Even though they will no longer be together as a couple, most people with children want to continue being good parents and to remain involved in their children’s lives. Co-parenting means sharing parenting responsibilities with someone living in a separate household.
However the decision was reached, a divorce can be a crisis and a major loss for the adults and children involved. Upon separating, each parent has a dual task: to make the adjustment to being a single person as well as to being a single parent. At the same time, they are not exactly single parents, if they intend to work out a co-parenting agreement to remain involved in their children’s lives.
Benefits of an amicable co-parenting relationship for your children
Kids whose divorced parents have a cooperative and cordial relationship:
- are more likely to adapt better to the divorce
- are less likely to have long-term negative effects after the divorce
- benefit when they see their parents modeling ways to solve problems, cooperate, show flexibility and demonstrate compassion
- are provided with a sense of security
Through your attitude and actions, they may see that they are more important than the conflict that ended your marriage. In essence, your children may understand that your love for them prevails.
But there are some cautions to amicable co-parenting relationships:
- Kids may feel confused and build fantasies about reconciliation.
- If there has been much conflict in your relationship with your ex, your children may have misgivings about a parent's sudden friendliness and suspect negative motives. It may help to tell children that you've made a decision to focus on having a friendly relationship for their sake, and to make it clear that the marriage is over.
Reprinted with the permission of Helpguide. © 2001-2008. All rights reserved.
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