In a divorce, your world is changing. For your children, the world as they know it is ending. Their mother and father are now living separately and they are shuttled back and forth for visitation with each parent. Mom and Dad no longer talk, and if they do, it’s an argument, usually about the children. It is no picnic for anyone, but least of all for your children. When you are having trouble parenting your children with your ex-spouse or soon-to-be-ex-spouse, remember that you see the issues from your perspective, the other parent from their own perspective, and your children experience the whole situation from yet another.
To minimize the stress, anxiety, and friction of raising your children in separate households, parents should work on communicating with each other and finding compromise. You might ask, if we were so great at communicating, maybe we would not have broken up. Water under the bridge. The communication you need now is centered around your children and their needs. Try to keep the personality conflicts out of it.
If you do not know where to begin with co-parenting, try attending a co-parenting class. In Orange County, California, there are many providers of co-parenting classes, such as Kids’ First and FACES. You can also contact the family law facilitator’s office with the court for a referral. Take the class, and afterwards, if you and your former partner need to work more on your co-parenting, there are many psychologists who can help you with these issues. Psychologists will also serve as sounding boards for some of the disputes that arise in co-parenting. Sometimes one person is completely unreasonable, and a good psychologist will not hesitate to point out an unreasonable position and help the parties find a compromise.
Good co-parenting is crucial to raising your children well during and after your divorce. The courts are filled with people who cannot effectively co-parent. These people must spend money on attorneys and come to court to ask a judge (a virtual stranger) to make parenting decisions because the parents cannot do it for themselves. It is a better investment for the parties to work on their own co-parenting skills than to give their attorneys repeat business every time they cannot agree on a parenting issue. Read a book, take a class, attend co-parenting therapy, and learn to work together.