Tips For Parenting After Separation

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Parenting is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, experiences life has to offer. But more so when parents separate. Consistency and routine for the children can be lost and they may feel they have no choice or voice in the matter.

Effective co-parenting is essential for the healthy growth and development of the children of separated parents.

At Awdry Law, we understand the importance of supporting co-parenting and offer some tips on beginning a new relationship between separated parents and their children.

It’s all about the children

Following a separation, the relationship with your ex-partner changes from being a partner to co-parenting. A new dimension is also added to the relationship between you and your children.

Working to put your emotions – anger, resentment, hurt – aside is often the first step in developing a co-operative relationship with your ex-partner. This is also one of the cornerstones to your relationship with your children going forward.

Shifting your focus and knowing that it is “all about the children,” means hopefully that your children will never be placed in the impossible position of being in the middle and having to side with one parent over the other.

Communication

Each parent should initiate and maintain effective communication. Making a request instead of a statement, listening to and conveying an understanding of the other parent’s position, committing to talk on a consistent basis, and keeping the subject matter focused on the children.

Avoid overreaction and, if beneficial, there are a number of support groups and books to help with how to communicate and “re-focus” discussions.

Moving between homes

Let’s face it, moving between homes even occasionally, is challenging for all of us. But it is particularly difficult for children who routinely move from one household to another on a weekly basis.

Make the change as easy as possible for them. Discuss homework requirements and any other obligations or commitments with your children in advance.

Help them pack so that they do not forget important items (including the favourite teddy!). Avoid “picking up” your children from the other parent. Instead, “drop them off.” The perception will be that you are not taking the children from the other parent but giving them the children.

When your children return, give them space and down time, and maintain their routine. They will need time to settle back into your way of doing things.

Be a team player (there is no “I” in team)

You are a member of the parent “team” when it comes to co-parenting. Being a team player means striving for consistency.

In order to avoid confusion, children need to have similar expectations at each home regarding homework, bedtimes and (ahh!!) the use of gaming consoles & mobile phones.

Consistency in routines are just as important to the co-parenting relationship as decisions about how to address medical, educational and financial needs.

Compromise

Keep the lines of communication open, respecting the other parent’s position, and focusing on the most important issues, not the “little stuff.”

Compromise will make life a lot easier for your children and at the end of the day, their happiness is your real objective, isn’t it?

Being a good parent is never easy. Being a good co-parent takes even more effort.

If you keep your children’s happiness foremost in your mind, learn ways to better communicate, maintain consistent routines, then you and your ex-spouse are well on your way to raising children that are:

Happy,
Independent,
Confident,
Mentally healthy,
and well-adjusted members of society.

We are here to listen and to support you – please click here to contact a member of our friendly and experienced Family Law team to arrange your free initial consultation, where you can take the time to talk. We are here for you.

Peter Berry

Associate, Chartered Legal Executive, Wills and Probate

Contact a member of the team  

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