How to parent effectively after a divorce?

By: James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC
Senior Staff Therapist,
The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Co-parenting after the Divorce

1. Try to parent as a team. Co-parenting can be difficult at best however I have seen some couples who still attend family functions together and make a point of going out to dinner as a family once a month. It goes without saying that they will swap visitation dates when their schedules dictate. It can be done if you really are interested in doing what is best for the children.

2. Communicate with civility and respect. Remember the walls have ears. A 10-year-old once told me that he could listen to his parents argue through the heating vents in the floor. No badmouthing your ex. No matter how angry you are; you still need to do what is in the best interest of the children.

3. There are several apps that help couples collaborate on their schedules and calendars. These apps give parents the ability to coordinate their schedules in order to stay on the same page. This can be very useful when there is still tension with your ex.

4. If your ex grounds a child, you should honor that decision and continue it even if it’s your weekend. I do recommend that there be parameters put on such consequences.

5. Don’t bring a new love interest around the children. Some people ask me for a time when it’s ok to bring someone around. I think it depends on the children and how they are adjusting to the divorce. If I’m forced to give a time, I say one year. Parents really need to examine their own feelings and keep those emotions separate from what is in the best interest of the children.

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