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Maximizing your children's benefits from co-parenting

When you decided to divorce, you also decided that co-parenting would be the best way to help your children through this difficult time. Both of you recognized that just because your marriage was ending that doesn't mean that you stop being a family.

In fact, you agreed that your personal relationship with your ex-spouse had little bearing on your parental relationship. You created a parenting plan you both agreed would serve your children's best interests and would allow each of you as much time with the children as possible.

Putting theory into practice

It all looked good on paper, but now that you are implementing your ideas and agreements, you find it's not quite as easy as you had hoped. More than likely, you need additional help in the following areas:

  • Communicating with the other parent may not be going as well as you would like. You may need to re-evaluate how you communicate with each other and make adjustments where needed.
  • Letting go of the hurt, anger and resentment is taking longer than you thought. It may help to seek outside help with resolving those feelings, and talking about it with a third party may prove useful.
  • You aren't a team yet. Consistency is crucial between households in areas such as routines, discipline and rules.

The best thing you can do for everyone, especially your children, is not to give up working out the kinks in your plan. As long as both of you are dedicated to continue giving your children the love, support and security they need, you will more than likely get where you want to be as co-parents. No one is perfect, and no one should expect the two of you to get it right on day one.

Remember your goals

The best thing you can do for your children is to remember the goals you set as co-parents when you negotiated your parenting plan. Ultimately, you want to provide your children with the following benefits from your co-parenting relationship:

  • Consistency eliminates confusion for your children. If they know what to expect regardless of whose home they are at, they may avoid frustration and other negative emotions that make it more difficult for them to adjust.
  • The more secure your children feel, the better the chances are that they will adjust to their new circumstances and continue to thrive.
  • Your children can learn healthy and productive problem-solving techniques by watching the two of you work together and handle your disputes maturely, calmly and efficiently.

Giving your children a healthy example could make them happier and healthier, which is more than likely your ultimate goal. However, if you discover that your existing parenting plan just isn't feasible, you may be able to make the necessary adjustments to it. However, you may need approval of the court in order to ensure that it remains enforceable in the future.

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