Getting divorced sucks, but getting divorced with children sucks even worse. You don’t want to make your children unhappy or stressed, but staying in a loveless marriage for the sake of your children can actually do more harm than good. If you’ve already gotten divorced, it’s important for you and your ex to still be actively involved in your child’s life. This means that, even though you may have differences with each other, you still need to act as a team and indulge in post-divorce parenting together. Here are rules you both should follow to ensure your children are happy, safe, and healthy even after the divorce.
Regardless of your personal feelings toward your ex, you both need to communicate with one another, whether through phone calls, emails, or text messages. This way, you can both be sure you’re aware of everything going on in your child’s life, from sports schedules, to after-school activities, to their general well-being. Make it a point to keep each other in the loop when you hear of something regarding your child, or maybe schedule a weekly call with one another to discuss anything you deem is important.
List you both as contacts.
It’s more common today for parents to either be divorced or never married, so schools and organizations have started to separate the parental boxes on forms for children. Whether you’re signing your child up for school or an after-school activity, be sure you both are listed as contacts. This way, if important emails or text messages are sent out regarding news or schedule changes, each of you can be in the know and won’t have to rely on the other parent to keep you informed.
Don’t put your child in the middle.
It may be hard for you to keep your feelings to yourself, but you need to do it for your child’s sake. Do not ever put your child in the middle of a spat between you and your ex, and do not ever talk bad about the other parent in front of your child. They love the other parent unconditionally, and it’s not your place to try and ruin that relationship just because you have your own feelings or agenda.
Put your child first.
It’s easy for parents to become selfish and want more time with the child, but that’s not fair and you need to remember to put your child first. For instance, be sure you have a parenting agreement in place that delivers a solid child custody agreement between the two of you. Be fair with this agreement to ensure the child has equal time with both parents, including on holidays and on birthdays. Although you may not want to give up time with your child, you need to understand that your child benefits from having time with both parents, so suck it up and make it equal.
Make decisions together.
Of course you don’t have to talk to your ex about everything your child wants to do when with you, but when it comes to big decisions, it’s important to make them both together. For instance, if your child wants to go away with friends for the weekend after prom, be sure you and your ex discuss it together. If your child’s doctor is suggesting a certain medication, treatment, or surgery for some type of illness, be sure to make that decision together.
Post-divorce parenting is going to be tough, but that doesn’t mean the two of you can’t make it work for your child’s sake. By following these rules, you can create a better relationship with one another that benefits your child.