Give you children a real security blanket after divorce: be their superhero.
There is ample research showing the benefits of a supportive co-parenting relationship for child development. Parents who manage to have a friendly – or even corporate – co-parenting understanding after the dissolution of their marriage or union can help create a buffer against the detrimental effects that separation and divorce can have on children, initially and over time. True commitment and quality of a co-parent relationship are the cornerstones for proper child development. Without this important foundation, children will take the brunt of the negative effects of divorce, and their chances for proper development will decrease.
How Can I Protect My Children?
Co-parents who take a positive and solid stance regarding active cooperation and communication, and are truly committed to the cause can help shield their children from destructive conflict. Cooperative co-parenting relationships can positively impact socio-emotional development in their children. Being an effective co-parent can be especially beneficial for child adjustment after the parents’ divorce, as children get adjusted to a two-household life. Children who observe their parents behave as cognitive, coherent, and common sensed adults during and after the process of a divorce can learn valuable interpersonal skills, especially as it relates to any future relational conflict they might experience.
In other words, put the big boy pants on and get along with your ex even if it eats you inside; do it for your offspring. Give your children the gift of a good example, be a good role model so that they can foster the necessary skills to deal with any conflict life might bring their way. Children will be affected by their parents’ separation and divorce, and supportive co-parenting can buffer the negative effects associated with these changes.
So What Is A Good Co-Parenting Relationship?
A supportive co-parenting relationship exists when both parents understand that the key ingredient for successfully raising children in separate households is recognizing that only a joint investment in the child will yield positive developmental results. I speak from experience. I successfully co-parented for many years because this concept was mutually understood, which placed my oldest son’s best interested as a priority.
Wanting to exert control over your ex’s parenting style and or skills does not keep the children’s best interest at hand. For parents to achieve the goal of a good co-parenting relationship, both co-parents need to understand the importance of the other parent in the child’s life, and for the child’s growth and development.
Regardless of what happened between the two of you, your ex has intrinsic value in your child’s life. At first it sounds like an alien concept, especially if you have been or continue to deal with your former partner’s wrath, but it’s imperative you understand that your child [most likely] doesn’t look, view, feel, or see your ex with the same eyes you do. You must be able to be the neutral party. Yes, it’s hard. No, you cannot whine your way out of it. Yes, you have to do it no matter what: your children will thank you later.
But all this applies only if you have a committed co-parent. What happens if your ex is an asshole who doesn’t have the capacity to put his/her own rage, anger, and resentment aside for the well-being and in the best interest of your children? Nothing good.
But My Ex is an Ass
Trying to establish, maintain, or forgo a supportive co-parenting relationship with an angry and resentful ex-partner is especially challenging. In a situation like this, one parent must take the initiative to be committed to the well-being and proper development of the children, despite obstacles and backlash from the other parent.
You cannot allow their shortcomings to become yours.
If your former partner doesn’t have the capacity to set aside their differences based on a past relationship, and you don’t take a positive stance on the matter to shield your children, then you’re both shitty co-parents.
Putting the big boy pants on and setting your differences aside will help you effectively co-parent, despite the lack of commitment from your former partner. Just remember that your children are watching. They observe everything you do and say. Their developing brains are like sponges that absorb everything around them. This is how they learn about the world.
No set of skills or educational background will ever fully prepare you for what’s in store if you have to deal with a resentful co-parent after a divorce or separation. Absolutely nothing, trust me. Arming yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge to ‘deal’ with your co-parenting journey will reduce your stress and help you be a better parent and human for your children at a time when they need it most.
You are their protector. Don’t waste your superhero energy on banal issues.
Don’t try to change what you cannot control, and don’t try to control what you cannot change.
Research shows that divorced parents who don’t begin a positive and leveled co-parenting rapport have less chances of co-parenting effectively in the second-year post divorce. This means it is up to you to increase the chances of having a decent relationship with your ex, despite their desire not to.
But My Ex is Communication Impaired
Although research shows that effective co-parenting communication increases the outcome of proper child development, some people simply don’t care about research findings and prefer to exert their hatred on you as the co-parent. They are more interested in co-parenting against you than with you.
Good co-parenting is characterized by the ability both parties to communicate as it relates to their children. Positive, respectful, and all around solid communication is beneficial for child development. A co-parent who cannot put their divorce or separation differences aside to communicate with their former spouse will not evolve, and will not be a solid foundation for their children.
Refusing to communicate in the context of a co-parenting relationship is immature and selfish. It’s no longer about you or your partner, it is about your children. It is about understanding that despite what might have transpired between you two as adults, you now have the capacity to care for your children from separate forts.
Be the parent who makes this possible. Be the parent who makes this happen. Be your child’s foundation.
You don’t have to engage or absorb your ex to effectively co-parent and raise your children in separate households, you just have to be corporate.
As always, dive safe, shoot safe, hug your kids and pets, kiss you partner, and thank your mother.