With approximately one in two American marriages ending in divorce, it’s an unfortunate truth that many parents will face the difficulties that come with co-parenting with an ex-partner. Between focusing on the kids, coordinating schedules and working through your own feelings, supporting your family during the transition and beyond can prove daunting. Thankfully, there is no shortage of tips and resources to offer parents guidance through the process:
1. Prioritize clear and consistent communication
The basis of any positive relationship, whether personal or professional, is effective communication. It is absolutely imperative that family members work as a cohesive unit, fueled by strong communication and a common goal. In today’s tech-savvy environment, communication is even easier. Free tools like Circles, by family organization platform Picniic, can streamline information exchange by privately sharing secure information with chosen contacts, giving you complete control over who in your Circles can access specific info. With key features including a Message Board to keep families connected, a Calendar to share dates and appointments with your ex, a shared To-Do List for everything from chores to party planning and Family Photos to share pictures, it’s easy to streamline information transfer with your ex, limiting the possibility of miscommunication and conflict.
2. Find support online
One of the first points to remember is that you are not alone. Parents across the country are going through exactly what you are and are more than willing to offer support. From online support groups to expert commentary, there is no shortage of encouragement on the web. For example, many online resources offer free support and education on best co-parenting practices. Find comprehensive resources for everyone from single parents to their support systems and learn how to build better futures by focusing on meeting the children’s needs through the information provided in the online resources.
3. Help kids cope healthily
When it comes to the kids, healthy coping mechanisms, a strong support system, and positivity are key. While the children transition to their new lifestyle, they will look to you and your ex-partner for support. By presenting a positive and united front, you will begin to build their new family foundation. In addition, tools like this free activity book for kids in changing families can help your little ones understand and accept their new normal. Developed by Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service), the colorfully illustrated activity book offers kids interactive games and exercises to help guide them through their parents’ divorce. It also serves as an educational resource for children, answering basic questions they might have about their lifestyle transition.
4. Foster stability with a defined structure
For kids and parents alike, the basis of a family – of any kind – is structure. A strong structure within the home reduces day to day stress, allows family members to work as a streamlined unit and frees up quality time, allowing for family-centric activities to reinforce the bond with your child – no matter your familial situation. The definition of a strong day-to-day structure has other benefits, including relieving pressure from everyday tasks, allowing families to focus on togetherness and quality bonding time.
Divorce and separation are never easy. However, by understanding the challenges and utilizing the tools and resources at their disposal to confront these challenges head-on, parents can create a positive, supportive environment for their kids, despite the change in lifestyle.