After a divorce, parents have different options when it comes to the custody of their children. One option is that they can choose to create a child custody agreement where they themselves decide which parent should have custody and when the other parent will have visitation rights. A second option is letting a court make the child custody determination in the best interests of the child. After either option is chosen, it is important for parents who are divorcing to find a way to co-parent together once they are divorced.
Peacefully co-parenting allows parents to help their children move forward from the divorce without too much emotional damage. Research studies have found that children are better off when their parents find a way to get along after a divorce.
Experts offer several tips to help parents become better at co-parenting after a divorce. One tip is that parents should continue to follow through with consequences and rewards for the children. However, negative consequences and discipline should only apply in the house of the parent that enforced the rule. The other parent should not be engaged in those situations. The reasoning behind this is that it helps children understand that each parent is in charge.
Another tip suggested by experts is that parents should create a regular routine for exchanges. The exchanges should be as normal as possible for the children. For example, parents should plan on meeting in similar places at similar times. It is also important for the exchanges to be polite and concise. Experts agree that it is important for children to establish routines and order in their lives.
Experts also believe parents should maintain consistency between the homes. The expectations of the children should be similar in both households. This includes bedtimes, rules about watching television, rules about homework, when to do chores, as well as grooming. In doing so, the children will feel more secure and comfortable during all of the changes.
Source: The Huffington Post, “5 Tips for Co-Parenting After Divorce,” Allison Pescosolido, May 16, 2013