Ten More Co-Parenting Tips
Ten More Co-Parenting Tips
by Guest Author Elinor Robin, Ph.D., with a little editing by Virginia L Colin, Ph.D.
11. Avoid using body language, facial expressions or other subtleties to express negative thoughts and emotions about the other parent. Your child can read you!
12. You can discuss some of your feelings with your children to the extent that they can understand them. Your kids probably do not want to year too much about how angry you are at their other parent. If you let your child know that you are terrified of the future, your child will be terrified too. Instead, keep a balanced emotional perspective that focuses on the difference between feelings and facts.
13. Do not use your child as a courier for messages or money.
14. Support your child’s right to visit both sets of grandparents and extended family members. Children benefit from knowing their roots and heritage. And, children love tradition. Extended family provides children with a sense of consistency, connection, and identity – especially during divorce. If possible avoid saying that one extended family is better than the other. They are just different.
15. Avoid the urge to question your child or press him for information regarding the details of your co-parent’s personal or professional life.
16. Each parent must establish and maintain his or her own relationship with the children. Neither of you should act as a mediator between the children and the other parent. Neither of you should act as the defense attorney, presenting a child’s case to the other parent.
17. Be on time for pick-ups and drop-offs. Do not enter the other parent’s home unless you are invited in.
18. Your child’s relationship with his parents will influence his relationships for the rest of his life. Never put your child in a position where he has to choose between his parents or decide where his familial allegiances lie. Instead, allow him to love both parents without fear of angering or hurting either.
19. Do not take it personally if your teenager prefers to be with his/her friends. Don’t push, but remain available. If you feel rejected and back-off, your teen may feel rejected in return.
20. Expect that your children may feel confused, guilty, sad and/or abandoned in response to the divorce. Acknowledge their feelings as normal and remind them that even though the family is undergoing a major change, you and their Dad/Mom will always be their parents.
More tips will follow in a future blog post. If you and your ex are having difficulty building a functional relationship as co-parents, consult with a co-parenting counselor or a family mediator.
Virginia L Colin, Ph.D., is a Professional Family Mediator certified by the Virginia Supreme Court. She is not an attorney or a therapist. For a free consultation about whether family mediation would be helpful for you, contact her at mediatorQ@gmail.com or 703 864 2101.