During a divorce you will lose the label of “husband” or “wife,” but you will remain a parent. That is a responsibility (and a privilege) that you will keep. This is important to remember as you move forward and work towards co-parenting with your former spouse.
Instead of giving in to anger or blame, focus your energy on avoiding the common mistakes that can lead to an unsuccessful and unhealthy co-parenting relationship.
When your child is at your home and away from your spouse, resist the temptation to give them everything they want. This extends to things they are forbidden to do elsewhere. For example, don’t throw out the structure and rules set by you and your spouse when you were together. We’ve all heard the term “Disney” parent. This is unhealthy for the child and can create additional resentment between you and your former spouse.
Keep things consistent between both homes. It is a good idea to have the similar rules, same bedtimes, and homework expectations etc. Let your child see you and your spouse acting in unison. This is better than showing them how much “fun” you are by disregarding a healthy structure.
Separate Marriage From Parenting
These are two very different roles, and they should not blur together just because you are divorced. Don’t put your child in the middle of you and your former spouse. This can come in many forms—and you may not even be aware you’re doing it.
Your child should never see any anger you feel towards your former spouse. Children only see mothers and fathers. They are not going to share in your resentment. Young kids are not ready for the emotional challenges and complexities of your adult issues. Using words like: Judge, Court Order, etc; are also inappropriate for a child; they should be blissfully unaware of your court case. They may need to see a visitation schedule, like a calendar or countdown, so that they know what to expect, but they do not need to now or stress about more than that.
Never try to get information to your former spouse through your child. This is your child; they are not to be used to get a point across to your spouse indirectly or directly. Even putting a note to your former spouse in their book bag is not appropriate as your child can see or read the note; it is not their job to be a carrier pigeon.
Healthy People Make Healthy Co-Parents
Taking care of your own mental and physical health is a step that gets overlooked—and it’s done out of your intention to put your children first. However, you still need time to heal from your divorce, to go through the grieving process naturally.
Sadly, you will likely not be with your children all the time after a marriage ends. Take that time and invest yourself. If you don’t, then you will likely carry over residual feelings from your marriage into your new life as a co-parent.
People tell you to put your anger aside for the sake of your children. Don’t just put it aside; it’s not going to go away on its own. Process your emotions, talk to your friends, seek out a therapist. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; it’s what is best for you and your child.
Easterling Law PLLC
Divorce is a very difficult process, but it is something that you do not have to go through alone. At Easterling Law, we combine experience with our passion to help you through some of the more complex legal aspects that arise after your marriage ends. Contact us online or call us at 980-272-1365.