As tough as your divorce might be for you, you can understand it. You can look back and see how you and your ex came together, fell apart and then decided you needed to call it quits. As an adult, you have learned ways to deal with your grief. But this is not true for your young child.
Divorce hits young children very hard, but the good news is that they are resilient and can bounce back. In an earlier blog, we looked at the effects your divorce might have on your child as well as fact that you may need to work together with your ex. This may feel like you are inviting conflict, but studies show that children of divorce do best when their parents work together to reduce conflict.
Working together to reduce conflict
It might be hard to avoid conflict with your ex. After all, you split for a reason. However, you and your ex will want to make sure your child has two emotionally stable and supportive parents. It may help to think of yourselves as co-workers and focus on the job:
- Stay positive: Do not talk bad about your ex. Speak only in respectful terms. Your child wants to love you both, and you should not do anything that makes them feel guilty for taking a side.
- Focus on clear, business-like communication: Communicate like business partners. Stick to the facts and the details. Adding emotion to your conversations increases the risk of conflict.
- Set up consistent guidelines for discipline: Working with your ex to set consistent rules and discipline reduces your child’s confusion and the time they spend trying to manipulate others.
- Make routines for the transitions: Children do not think of time the same way adults do, and it can be hard for them to transition from one parent to the other. You and your ex can use reminders to help your children adapt to the routine and by keeping things calm and low-key.
It is in your child’s best interests
Whether you and your ex split peacefully, or your divorce was extremely contentious, you will want to work together for the sake of your child. The studies show that it is possible for children to be happy after divorce, but they fare best with the full support of both parents. When it gets hard, just remember: your investment in co-parenting will pay dividends throughout your child’s life.