Life after divorce is particularly challenging for parents. While you’re trying to move forward, your former spouse still plays a key role in your life. This is where co-parenting comes in. Together, you and your ex work to create a cohesive parenting plan for your child to abide by.
Sherman Counseling in Green Bay, WI provides co-parenting counseling for parents and families. We work with couples in every stage of their relationship, and we provide divorce prevention therapy for those in need. If you are divorced or separated from your spouse, use these co-parenting strategies with your child.
Establish General Rules for Both Households
Your household rules may not be the same as your former partner’s, but there should be some general rules you establish across the board. Children thrive with stability and consistency. If they have drastically different expectations between homes, they may have behavioral issues later on.
Examples of good co-parenting rules include:
- Curfew times for school days and weekends
- Dietary restrictions (no food after dark, only one cookie per day, no soda, etc.)
- Off-limit activities
- Timeframes for electronics
- Permitted shows or websites
Discuss these matters with the other parent to create a baseline for both households. If you need help coming to an agreement, you can talk things over during your co-parenting counseling sessions.
Communicate with Each Other, Not through Your Child
Do not turn your child into a messenger. If you need to communicate with your former spouse, do so directly. Even if you are sending a positive message to the other parent, you need to send it personally. If your child is in the middle of the discussion, he or she may feel responsible for the reaction. “I made mommy and daddy fight.”
Another factor to keep in mind is how your child may filter the message. Think of the telephone game you used to play as a child. The message at the beginning never comes out the same in the end. Sending a message through your child may cause unintentional conflict, which is why direct communication is ideal.
Put Your Disagreements to the Side
You may not get along with your former spouse, but you have to put those disagreements to the side. You’re partners for life, no matter what your romantic intentions are. Work together to do what’s best for your child. If you need post-divorce counseling to work through your differences, the professionals at Sherman Counseling would be happy to assist you. We offer co-parenting counseling in the Green Bay, WI area, and we have helped many couples in your exact predicament. Contact one of our therapist offices to learn more.