Each New Year brings new beginnings. For “ex” relationships that involve children it’s never too late to do something new and different. Kids need their divorced or never married parents to find a way to communicate that helps them, not hurts them. Research shows that angry parents who do not communicate well don’t hurt each other in the long run, they hurt the children.
Kids who grow up with “Angry Associates” for parents live with anxiety and stress and often fear the interactions of their parents at school functions, birthday parties and graduations. What can one parent do to make things easier on the kids? What is one good idea that can be implemented for the betterment of the children? First I would suggest that divorced parents do not discuss co-parent details at the handoff. Don’t discuss child support, vacation schedules or who is paying for summer camp – eliminate that from your handoff experiences and instead make them as positive, simple and peaceful as possible. The time that you are both in the same space and close proximity try to be upbeat and positive with each other. Save the parenting discussions for a phone call or meeting away from the kids; do the “parenting business” in private and never in front of the kids. Years ago, when I was starting my co-parenting journey, I started doing this so that our daughter would never have to hear us argue or fight about anything – I wanted her to have the most peaceful and positive handoffs as possible. The nice thing it has created for her dad and I is a “compartmentalized process” of communication so we don’t try to talk about co-parenting details at the handoff, volleyball games, dance recitals or at her school programs. It has given us healthy boundaries and eliminated stress for the adults in addition to eliminating the stress for our daughter. Our goal in co-parenting is to be “cooperative colleagues” that communicate in productive ways so that we stay focused on raising a well-developed daughter. Nothing is more important to either of us than her well-being. We are both now remarried and continue to have co-parent meetings with us and her step parents as well. I am thankful, for her sake, that we have compartmentalized the process and our daughter never feels stress when the four of us are together. For free articles and more co-parenting ideas that help raise healthy kids see www.CoparentingInternational.com. Tammy Daughtry Founder, CoparentingInternational.com and ModernFamiyDynamics.com.