Divorce and separations happen, which can be a difficult time for children as well. Here are some mistakes parents make and how they can better co-parent their children.
As a mother who has experience with co-parenting, I can say that it is not always easy. It is important for children that their parents work together to do what is best for them. Being able to make important plans together and keep each other up to date on everything helps co-parenting work. However, sometimes things prevent co-parenting from going smoothly. Here are some of the things that parents do that impact their children more than they may realize.
One Parent Being Absent
Even though people want their family to be together, sometimes it is just not possible. Families split apart for various reasons, and there are times that it is better that way. Children do not need to grow up in a toxic environment, and staying together for the children does not make it any better. However, just because parents split up and get divorced, they still have an obligation to be their child’s life.
There are so many times when people get a divorce that the mother is left to care for her children alone. Fathers walk away from their families for different reasons, such as too much arguing or they just grow apart from wives. Because there are problems in the marriage it does not give an excuse not to be there for their children after the divorce. The reasons they do so are numerous, and some of these reasons may not be completely their fault.
When people think about an absent parent right away, they assume it is the father who left his family. However, this is not always the case. Often, the mother leaves the family, and the father cares for and raises the kids by himself. The reasons that a mother may walk out on her children can vary, and they do not think about the issues it can cause with their child. These children can become angry and, as they get older, become resentful towards the idea of their mother leaving even though they were lucky enough to have a good father in their life.
Arguing About Arrangements in Front of the Children
People think that because they are divorced that they do not have to have any type of relationship. If the couple has children together, that cannot apply to them. Parents must learn to co-parent in a positive and civil way for the sake of their children. This is important, especially with younger children, so that they learn to see the changes in their lives with their families in a positive way.
Some parents decide during their divorce when the visitation will be. However, some parents decide it is best to have verbal agreements about when they visit and make their own rules, so to speak, even if they have it listed in a divorce decree. Arguing about when the children can visit the other parent for any reason only hurts the child, so it is best to put personal issues aside and do what is best for the child.
We often see that the primary parent uses the children against the other parent and tells the child negative remarks about the other parent. It is not a good idea to bring children in the middle of any issues between adults. Avoiding being negative about each other in front of the children will help them see that life can still be positive, and they won’t feel like they have to choose sides.
Using the Children as a Way to Get What You Want
The reality is that some couples will never get along, no matter what. They have to remember that they cannot use the children against each other just because they disagree. Children need to know that they are loved by both parents and not be brought into the drama that comes with disagreements. It is the responsibility of both parents to see that the children are never involved in adult issues.
I have witnessed cases where one parent talks badly about the other parent to a child in order to cause problems for them just because they are mad. By doing this, they are causing damage to the child that they may not realize. Ruining the children’s relationship with the other parent is not in the child’s best interest and can reflect poorly on you in the long run. It is best to keep the conversations that can be harmful to the children between the two of you.
Using children as messengers to deliver information or negative comments is not the best idea either. Sending a child to try to cause guilt or anger in the other parent is a bad way to get what you want. However, this happens more than people realize. One parent feels that they have a better chance of getting their way if the child brings up the issues instead of them doing it themselves. Anytime you are using a child to get your way is harmful to the child and not a good way to co-parent.
Positive co-parenting is the best way to raise children after a divorce. It is up to both parents to ensure that their children are not being exposed to negativity between the two of you. Keeping children out of a toxic situation will be the best start to showing them that they still have both of you. Try to get along for your child’s sake and make plans and arrangements that are best for them. Finally, do not argue about co-parenting for selfish reasons.