Tips for co-parenting after a divorce

Divorcing parents can co-parent by respecting each other, focusing on the children, supporting each other and explaining the situation to the kids.

In Arkansas, 25.3 of every 1,000 married women gets a divorce in a single year according to The Washington Times. Even though the dissolution of a marriage is fairly common, many separating couples are unprepared for what comes after. This is especially true when children are involved.

Maintain respectful communication with ex-spouse

Children pick up on a lot. Living amongst constant conflict can have negative repercussions on the mental wellbeing of a kid. For example, if a boy's mother constantly speaks poorly about his father in front of him, he may grow to be disrespectful himself. He could even start to resent one or both of his parents.

Instead, parents going through a separation should avoid speaking negatively about each other in the presence of the children. Similarly, they should avoid fighting about the divorce or anything else in front of the child.

Stay focused on the children

Divorce often leads to major upheaval in the lives of everyone involved. A father may find himself struggling to find a new apartment while keeping up with his full-time work. Even though he is busy, he should try to be emotionally engaged whenever he has his children with him. Focusing on the kids by planning fun outings or listening about their day at school can help both parents maintain a healthy relationship.

Offer support to the other parent

A change in family dynamics can lead to a breakdown in rules and order. If one parent sets up an 8:00 bedtime on school nights, but the other allows the children to stay up as late as they want, it can foster resentment between the kids and their stricter guardian. Because the children's wellbeing is what is most important, parents should strive to work together and support one another. This can be managed by creating a schedule that both households abide by.

Explain the situation to the kids

Parents may have a hard time explaining to their children the need for the divorce, especially when their children are young, but it is a necessary part of co-parenting successfully. Children may fear they will lose out on love and security because of the separation. The mother and father should have a joint discussion to explain that they are both still parents, and they will both still play a role in the child's life. During this type of conversation, it may be beneficial to allow the kids to talk about their fears and concerns surrounding the divorce.

Even during a divorce, Arkansas parents must strive to put the needs of their children first by working together to co-parent. Because of the complexities involved with these proceedings, it may be beneficial to work with a knowledgeable attorney.