After a divorce, parents want their children to continue to feel loved and secure. Studies show kids have the ability to adapt to their new situation when both parents remain involved in their lives, even though they may live with one parent a majority of the time.

That’s why a structured co-parenting plan is essential for forging a new path forward, one where both former spouses effectively communicate to put their child’s well-being ahead of any negative feelings they may have for each other.

Co-parenting behavior to follow

There are many things you can do to create a healthy environment for your child when co-parenting, such as:

  • Communicate with your ex: This may be one of the most challenging things a former spouse can do, but it’s essential to openly and honestly discuss all issues surrounding your children.
  • Consistency: Draft a plan where the same rules apply to both households. Kids need consistency and can’t be allowed to behave differently under one parent’s supervision.
  • Boundaries: Think of your new dynamic as a business arrangement and keep things professional with your ex, but don’t be afraid to set limits.
  • Put your child first: Think about your child before criticizing or taking actions meant to hurt your ex-spouse.

Co-parenting behavior to avoid

Bad feelings that linger create more difficulties for children adjusting to a new life. Avoid behavior such as:

  • Sabotage: Attempting to weaken a child’s relationship with the other parent is not only unfair, it can backfire and make the child resent them instead.
  • Choosing sides: Never put your child in a situation where they feel they have to choose one parent over the other. Children love both their parents and shouldn’t be involved in parental disputes.
  • Manipulation: Using a child as a bargaining chip to get what you want from your ex will only hurt your child and likely damage your own relationship with them.
  • Transference: Don’t make your children the targets of angry or hurtful feelings aimed at your ex. Your kids only need support, love and trust.

A healthy co-parenting approach benefits everyone

While divorce can have a devastating effect on everyone involved, taking a pro-active and positive approach to co-parenting will create a healthier environment for your children and help you and your ex move on to the next chapter of your lives. An experienced and compassionate family law attorney here in Virginia can help you through every step of the process with respect and dignity while preserving your privacy.