While we may look to studies to help us answer these questions for our own situation, the truth is that we are free to marshal our own resources and skills to become better parents after a divorce. We are even free to develop new skills as we go along. All of life is a spectrum, so when I write “better parents” I am not suggesting, in this context, that anyone has been a bad parent. But I am suggesting that additional references and skills may be needed as you seek to help your children adjust to a divorce.
Not surprisingly, a lot of the things that parents in divorce can do for their children starts with what parents can do to help themselves. If you can’t emotionally stabilize yourself during the divorce, you may have a hard time helping your child deal with it in a positive way. It makes sense, then, to first make sure that you are getting the help you need to deal with the situation. If you sort of have that covered, then learning about co-parenting, during and after a divorce, is a good place to start.
As you go through a divorce, you will hear about the concept of co-parenting. In reality, co-parenting is what you and your spouse have been doing while living together, in automatic pilot so to speak. But, once divorced, you and the other parent will now co-parent the same child while living apart—and you still need to do it together.
There are many resources available to provide you more information on helping your children deal with a divorce. Wendy Paris has a great article in Psychology Today on raising happy children after a divorce. She shares information on the factors that are important for a child’s adjustment in a divorce; and also her own 5 Principles for Positive Co-Parenting, which she developed for her own divorce.
Then, too, there is a longer resource, The Co-Parents’ Handbook, that touches extensively on just about any area that you and the other parent may have to brush up on, like communication; new situations to deal with, such as setting up a two-home family; and even finances, which can be a touchy subject.
When it comes to children’s issues in a divorce there is no “you” against the “other” spouse. There’s just your children.
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