Did you know effective co-parenting helps children of divorce according to a new study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers? What are some of the keys to effective co-parenting during and after a divorce?
Effective co-parenting requires a commitment by both parties to make the best interests of the child(ren) the central goal of parenting. One of the most important elements of an effective co-parenting plan is a clear understanding of the mutual goals the parties share when it comes to raising their children. For example, the Court takes a dim view of a parent who talks disparagingly about their former spouse in front of the children. In some circumstances, this can result in parental alienation which is damaging to the child(ren) and can actually lead to the loss of parenting time privileges.
Therefore, an effective co-parenting plan should include the goal of keeping all communications with the other parent positive or at least neutral when they occur in front of the children. Keep adult disagreements and issues between the adults and focus on keeping the environment surrounding the children as positive and productive as possible. There should also be a focused strategy on maintaining communications between the child and each parent when they are in the other household. Make it easy for the child to call, text or video chat with the other parent when they are in your home.
Flexibility is another key to effective co-parenting. Kids get sick. Parents get sick. Work schedules might occasionally intervene. A little give-and-take is an effective strategy for managing the real life events which surround the child(ren) and their co-parents. Flexibility should be an occasional courtesy. If parenting schedules are interrupted or altered on a regular basis it may be time to review the situation or develop a new schedule.
Clear communications and scheduling regarding the events of a child’s life are a crucial part of effective co-parenting. Each co-parent needs to know what’s happening in each child’s life and how to best support the child. This applies to everything from parent-teacher conferences to practices and extra-curricular activities.
Effective co-parenting helps children of divorce to transition more quickly and easily while reducing the stresses between the child and each parent as well as between the co-parents themselves. Effective co-parenting improves the quality of life after a divorce for everyone involved.