Co-Parenting Is King After A Texas Divorce30/03/2012
By Liz Porter, KoonsFuller Dallas
When parents divorce, children adjust better, during the breakup and thereafter, when they maintain a relationship with both parents.
Co-parenting after a separation or divorce means both parents play an active role in their children’s day-to-day lives, from having physical custody of the children to the major decision making responsibilities regarding the children.
Whether parents share joint custody of the children or one parent has primary custody, it is public policy in Texas to assure that children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who act in the best interest of those children. It is the job of co-parents to provide a safe, stable and nonviolent environment for the children and share in the rights and duties of raising their children after a separation or dissolved marriage. Co-parenting is the ideal, unless there is some compelling reason not to have a parent involved in his or her children’s lives.
The keys to successful co-parenting are focusing on the child and the parents functioning together and communicating with each other. Yes, this is hard—really hard in some cases. It means that your own emotions—anger, resentment, or hurt—must take a back seat to the needs of your children. Co-parenting is not about your feelings, or those of your ex-spouse, but rather about your child’s happiness, stability and future.
When parents work together for their well-being, children develop feelings of stability and feel more secure in their own lives, have more confidence and higher self-esteem, and are less likely to feel abandoned, torn between parents or need to meet the social and emotional needs of one or both parents.
So what makes a successful co-parenting arrangement? Here is what parents should do at that important juncture:
- Resolve conflicts without putting the children in the middle.
- Treat the other parent with respect.
- Establish boundaries with each other and respect those boundaries.
- Communicate regularly regarding the children and let the children know that you do so.
- Say positive things about the other parent in the presence of the children.
- Support the other parent’s decisions, even if you would not have made the same decision.
- Don’t allow all the parenting tasks to fall to one parent.
- Be consistent – to the extent possible – in disciplining, routine, and care of children.
- Help your children recognize the other parent with appropriate cards or gifts for special occasions.
- Support your child’s relationship with the other parent, AND the other parent’s family.And what may be most important, DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF!