Finding successful ways to co-parent after divorce can be difficult under the best circumstances. During a global pandemic, with massive economic and social uncertainty, finding ways to work together can be even harder. Across the world, anxieties are high, making it more important than ever for parents to work together to show a strong and united front for their children.
Listed below are some tips to help make your co-parenting successful and beneficial to your children:
Reinforce The Love You Have For Your Children: Children are fragile and often need reassurance to feel safe and loved. Make sure you are expressing to your children how much you love them, what strengths you see in them, and how happy you are to have them in your life. If your child feels that they are a source of stress or that having them is a complication in your life, they can begin to disconnect. Remember to target specific, positive personality traits and choices they make, when communicating with them.
Make Every Minute Counts: It can be difficult for parents who are splitting custody with their children to feel like they are getting enough time together. The best way to combat this is to focus on making every minute together count. Quality time spent nurturing and growing your relationship will mean more than the amount of time you spend overall. Scheduling time together for family game night, going on daily walks, or finding other ways to create a routine that allows for connected time together can go a long way to building your relationship. If you are struggling to co-parent, reach out to the Houston divorce coaches at Renken Law Firm.
Let Them Lead: To build a child’s confidence, it is important to let them lead. This does not mean letting them choose to have dessert for dinner or make choices that have negative consequences but instead to engage in activities that you let them direct. This can be as simple as coloring a picture together or asking them their opinion on a television show. When you let them take the lead, make sure to point out the strengths they are displaying, and provide them with praise.
Maintain A Neutral Tone: When it comes to discussing their other parent, it is best to maintain a neutral tone. This can be challenging, especially in cases where emotions are still raw or you feel the other parent is failing to maintain the same tone. Speaking poorly about the other parent can lead to your child feeling uncomfortable, or like they need to hide how they feel. These feelings can be difficult for your child to navigate and may lead to problems in your relationship.
Don’t Use Your Child As A Mediator: Relaying messages to your ex through your child is never a good idea. Your child should not have to play mediator, they should only be responsible for being your child. If you find that there is a need to work through issues with your ex to successfully co-parent, working with a professional mediator or divorce coach, such as Dawn Renken, can help you to reach an amicable place without involving your child. When you try to involve your child with the intricacies of your divorce, they can become overwhelmed. It weighs heavily on a child when you force them to relay messages and can put them in a position that they are unable to properly manage. Alimony, legal agreements, custody, and all divorce-related matters are too complex for children to understand. If you have issues that need to be discussed contact our office today.
Keep A Routine: Living chaotically is not only difficult to maintain, but it can also make it hard for your child to thrive. Setting a routine sounds more difficult than it is, and can go a long way to making everyone’s lives easier. Your routine can include everything from the child’s schedule between parents to their schedule when they are staying at your home. Keeping a regular bedtime and morning routine can help settle anxieties, letting children know what is expected of them, and what they can expect to happen while they are with you. Holidays may make it easy to get thrown off your normal schedule, and that is okay, however, once the holidays are over make sure to get back on track to promote the wellbeing of your child. Including them in the routine can also be beneficial, such as preparing familiar meals, walking the dog, and more.
Divorce Isn’t Everything: While divorces can be overwhelming and time-consuming, it is important to remember that your divorce is not the only thing going on in your life, and more importantly your child’s life. Do not let the divorce, or changes the divorce has caused dominate the interaction you are having with your child. Instead, stay involved in the things that matter most to your child. How are they doing in school? Do they feel like their friendships are benefiting them? Do they have any new interests? When your child feels you are overwhelmed or focused on something specific, it can be easy for them to retreat into themselves. Keeping an open door of communication between you and your child will help them come to you when something is bothering them, or when there is something they want to share with you. Additionally, you can learn a lot from your child just watching how they interact and engage with the world around them. It is not always about asking questions, however, they can help.
Promote Open Expression: Whether you are co-parenting or not, allowing your child to feel the freedom to express themselves openly is critical to their mental health and wellbeing. Your child will go through multiple changes, some may be familiar with changes you went through, while others may feel foreign. It is important not to alienate your child or make them feel judged for who they are or how they express themselves. All children will walk their unique path, as parents, we are here to help them along the way. Try to focus on the message to your child being centered around acceptance as long as they are not hurting themselves or others. Work on watching how you respond, as to not minimize their feelings or emotions.
Embrace What Makes Them Different: When it comes to your child, you are their primary attachment figure. This means you are the person they come to when they are scared or unsure about themselves or a situation. Encourage their individuality and the role they play in social settings. It is just as important to praise who they are when they are alone, as who they are in their peer group. Encourage the things about them that stand out to you as strong and different. Let them know that they do not have to be like everyone else to be liked and embraced. It is important to allow them time to socialize, even when you feel your time with them is limited. Friendships play an integral role in their development and ability to empathize.
Put Time Into You: As parents, we spend so much time focusing on the wellbeing of our children, without always remembering how important taking care of ourselves is. To provide support to our children, we must be strong and healthy ourselves. This starts with simple steps such as drinking water and sleeping enough, but extends to being in healthy relationships and planning for our futures. No one expects you to be perfect, but setting a good example for your child will pay off, not only for you but for them.
Dawn Renken is a certified divorce coach (CDC) who can help you navigate this difficult time in your life. Not only does working with a divorce coach help to ensure all of your bases are covered throughout the divorce process, but they can also help you navigate the difficult emotions you are experiencing throughout this process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you through your divorce and lessen the emotional impact on your family.
Same-Sex Divorce Attorney in Houston
Renken Law Firm is here to help couples who wish to dissolve their marriage, whether that be through divorce or legal separation. We are here to help those who are ending marriages that have been contested, uncontested, or collaborative. We are fully prepared to help you navigate the specifics of your case. We proudly serve the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.
Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #618
Houston, TX 77092