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Divorce help Building a healthy co-parenting relationship after a divorce


Divorce can be devastating for spouses and their children, both psychologically and emotionally. Most times, there are feelings of anger and betrayal in the parents, arising from the situations that led to the divorce. This surge of emotions can mar the parent-children communication and put the social, emotional and psychological development of the children in jeopardy.

The need for a healing process between the parents for the benefits of the children arises. This is where co-parenting comes to play.

Co-parenting helps bridge the gap the legal separation process creates and helps to adapt children to the new relationship of their parents. Co-parenting takes the burden off the kids, increases their sense of security, improves the relationship with their parents and decreases conflict.

With the shared roles of both parents, they can maintain to some certain level the healthy conditions the kids used to live in prior to the divorce. Studies have shown that children with consistent co-parents after a divorce are less likely to be found engaging in drug and alcohol behaviors.

How to build a healthy co-parenting relationship after a divorce

  • 1. Develop a parenting plan

    A parenting plan is a legal agreement containing all your decisions about parenting to minimize conflict and assist in raising healthy children. It also doubles as a communication tool containing the strategies for making decisions regarding the children, their social and emotional development. With the help of a divorce mediator, a flexible parenting plan can be created to protect the kids, ensure their needs are met and that there is consistency in the way both parents take on their roles.

  • 2. Avoid criticizing your ex's values openly

    Children gather information from the people they love and have memorable encounters with. Positive experience help develop kids into healthy, independent thinkers. This is why negativity in speech should be avoided when the parents address each other especially after a divorce when the kids are on the verge of emotional breakdown. Openly criticizing the ideas and values of an ex-partner paints the image of an unfair and mean parent to the children and no one wants that.

  • 3. Adopt the right communication style with your ex-partner

    This will help in ensuring consistency if there is a parenting plan. The couple need to define the boundaries they need and also maintain them. Establishing the right communication channel for emergencies and matters that concern the kids is a big step towards building a healthy co-parenting relationship after a divorce.

  • 4. See your co-parenting relationship as a business relationship

    During the process leading to the divorce and after the legal separation, there is generally an end to a romantic relationship. The couple are now in a business relationship that involves raising the kids in the most favourably healthy atmosphere. There will be need for the spouses to put the past behind and avoid getting angry with themselves and their ex-partners. Treating every situation like one would do with a colleague at work should be the ideal.

Heather Oller

Heather Oller is a licensed mental health professional with a Masters degree in counseling and psychology. She is an expert therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Counseling & Conflict Resolution and is a Florida certified family court mediator. She is also a qualified Parent Coordinator. She specializes in conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution.

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