Co-Pareniting Archive

Helping Your Children Survive Divorce

By Judith Ruskay Rabinor | Filed in Co-Pareniting

When it comes to discussing divorce with your children, you may be overwhelmed on where to begin. Plan the conversation ahead of time, thinking of questions the children may have and how you could answer them truthfully. It’s best if both parents could be present when talking to your children about divorce. A child will find security in that, although their home life will be changing, both parents are still going to be actively involved in the child’s activities and day-to-day life.

It likely goes without saying that this discussion is not the time for any snide remarks about the other parent. There are feeling of hurt and/or anger with every divorce, but it’s important to present a united front of the children. Starting off with the children knowing that mom and dad may not want to be married anymore, but your love for them has not changed.

Don’t Use Your Child as a Go-Between

As the divorce unfolds and you move on to separate households, resist the urge to use the children as a go between. Effective communication between the co-parents will prevent the child from having a larger role in the parenting relationship. It’s better to call or email your former spouse directly, rather giving the responsibility of asking questions to the child.

Speak Positively about Your Co-Parent

No one said co-parenting was easy, but by putting your child’s needs ahead of your own anger and hurt, you will continue to raise a well-adjusted child with a realistic view of relationships. There is never an appropriate time to speak badly about your former spouse in front of your children. Doing this will place the child in a position where they feel like they need to defend the other parent. It could also lead to them telling you less and less that is going on in their lives to avoid the conflict.

The best thing you can do for your children in a situation of divorce is to continue to work as a team with parenting decisions. Keep similar house rules, and if you are upset, take the time to discuss when the children are not around. Emailing is also a good option.

Make the Time

Whether have joint custody or another arrangement, take the time and make the effort needed to grow your relationship with your child. If you say you’re going to call, then call. If you say you’re going to pick your child up at a certain time, be there! In many cases one parent sees the children far less than the other, so make each moment count. Put all with electronics. Turn off your phone, and stay involved with your kids.

Children and resilient and will survive divorce, but as co-parents, you need to help ease this transition. Positive co-parents who show they can still work together have a profound impact on a child.

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3 Benefits of Co-Parenting

By Judith Ruskay Rabinor | Filed in Co-Pareniting

Photo credit: Emily Kidd2012

Photo credit: Emily Kidd2012


Co-parenting is not always easy, but as parents you need to keep the children as a top priority. Most divorces involve communication issues and hurt feelings, but effective communication is key to a solid co-parenting relationship. The co-parenting relationship can directly affect your child’s self-esteem. As hard as it may be to put aside differences (at least in front of your children), maintaining continuity with schedules, and consistency with discipline and family rules will help children have a deeper sense of security. Even with the major lifestyle changes involved in divorce, it’s important to assure children both parents will continue to be an equal part of the their life and most importantly, that their love for their children has not changed.

Benefits of Effective Co-Parenting

  1. Security. When parents work together to ensure that their children know they are loved and that both parents are going to continue to be a constant in their life, children adjust more easily to divorce. It’s important that children understand the divorce had nothing to do with them, and that their parent’s love for them has not changed.
  2. Consistency. By maintaining similar household rules, discipline, and rewards, children know what to expect, and know what’s expected of them. Set aside a time to talk (or even email if talking is too difficult) about creating a set of rules and routines that you both can agree upon. Children not only benefit from the consistency, but this will also eliminate the possibility of hearing “Mom always lets me do that” or “Dad said I can do it!”
  3. Setting a Healthy Example. Okay, so your marriage didn’t work out as planned, you can still set a healthy example for your children of what a successful relationship is like. Parents that continue to effectively co-parent establish healthy life patterns and skills that children will carry with them in both friendships and in future relationships.
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