In USA, a country full of values and cultures, marriage is an institution. Even today, arranged weddings are prominent, and the alliance is not only between the bride and the groom but between their respective families. The entire society, other than friends and relatives, is involved in the ceremony. The process does not end here, though. Starting a family too is a whole family affair as well. The pressure to have children begins as soon as the ritual of the first night is over. Never-ending demands have now started. Now, when this institution starts to crumble, not only two but many lives involved get devastated.
In earlier days, the cases of divorce were much lesser than they are today. Fear of what the society might say and family’s emotions came in the way, and the couple would compromise and adapt accordingly even if there was loads of unhappiness and a sense of burden in their hearts and minds. Today, times have changed. People have started to prioritize their feelings and emotions and end their marriage to lead a more peaceful life.
The primary reason for the increase in the cases of divorce is nuclear families and a strong sense of independence in today’s generation. In all this drama, the most affected are the kids of the couple involved. If the child is a teenager, then he or she would be at a better place to understand the situation, but if the child is younger, then it becomes difficult for him to understand anything which is going on.
Any relationship if on the rocks is not right, both mental and emotional health of the people involved. It crumbles you from within. But if the separation is bound to take place, then there is no better way out. Any split is not natural, especially if it happens due to conflict, physical abuse, or substance abuse.
CO-PARENTING: WHAT IS IT?
After a split is co-parenting natural? The answer is NO. This is more obvious when you have had a complicated relationship with your ex-partner. There are already many ongoing issues in your minds, such as the reason for conflict, negative thoughts, and the most critical financial issues.
What a peaceful co-parenting process involves is a sense of maturity, understanding, and mutual respect. Co-parenting is a process where you and your ex-partner keep aside your conflicts and focus on your kids’ welfare and future well-being. This involves a series of operations.
TIPS FOR GOOD CO-PARENTING:
A child needs both his parents for healthy growth. A healthy environment at home is essential for the mental and emotional well-being of the children. Joint custody arrangement can be painful, strenuous, and exceptionally emotionally exhausting. The person with whom you had thought of a lifetime has now become your past and to deal with this fact can cause a lot of heartbreak. Making shared decisions and interacting with each other after a divorce can lead to awkward situations most of the time. But if the focus remains on the child’s well-being, then things can be made a little easy. A lot of your anxiety and depression needs to be kept aside, and you need to bring in a little positivity in your mindset.
HOW does IT work?
The first step for a good and easy co-parenting is to separate your relationship with your ex-partner to a co-parenting relationship. You need to act with more maturity and sense of responsibility.
BENEFITS OF GOOD CO-PARENTING:
The most important part about an excellent co-parenting would be taking ownership for your flawed relationship rather than blaming the kid. Your kid should never feel that they are the reason for your separation or divorce. This shall affect the kid’s definition towards marriage or any alliance.
- When a child is confident about the love of his parents, he has a sense of security in him. Such children have better self-esteem.
- Co-parenting means similar rules, the discipline, so children know what to expect and what is expected from them.
- Children who see their parents co-working have a better understanding of problem-solving.
- Children who experience conflict between their parents are more likely towards depression and social anxiety.
DOs AND DONTs:
- SET YOUR HURT AND ANGER ASIDE.
You are indeed angry with your partner. You have a lot of thoughts against him in your mind. You probably want to scream your frustration out at him for being so stupid, but now that your marriage is over, it is too late. So you need to back seat of these negative feelings and emotions and solely focus on your kid’s welfare.
- SEPARATE FEELINGS FROM BEHAVIOUR.
Don’t let your emotion take over your behavior and let people know that you are going through an emotional turmoil. Don’t vent out your frustration or anger on your children. This may cause a sense of fear in them and might affect their confidence. Consult a therapist, meet friends, or confide in your parents.
- FOCUS ON YOUR KIDS.
Remember that there is someone beautiful you created along with your partner, your children. Their happiness and well-being is your priority and responsibility. Focus solely on that, and you will feel much lighter off your burden.
COMMUNICATION: KEY TO SUCCESS.
- Never make the mistake of getting your children in between you and your ex-partner. Communicate directly with your ex-partner instead of asking your kids to convey the messages.
- Whatever issue between you and your partner, keep it yourselves rather than imposing them on your children.
- A strained relationship can cause miscommunication. So keep the communication short, crisp but clear.
- Request instead of ordering. For example, “Could you please….. as this may cause less strain.
- Be a good listener.
- In cases of contradiction, do not over-react. Handle the situation with maturity and sensibility.
parenting: WORK AS A TEAM
Your child is a result of both of you. So it needs both of you as partners to work as a team in the upbringing of your child. Whether you like each other or not, you need to make joint decisions, and this can happen if you both co-operate and communicate without bickering and blow-ups.
You should understand that the end of your marriage as a relationship is not the end of your family. It is only an end to your nuclear family. You and your partner are separating because of lack of compatibility.
There are a lot of couples who after a split, remain in touch with each other’s family members such as parents, siblings, aunts, and uncles. For the sake of their kids, they do a lot of things together. They go on vacations along; they attend weddings and funerals together and a part of each other’s success. This is because they have accepted their separation with maturity and practicality. They understand that their kids get one chance to be kids and that their divorce cannot take away their child’s childhood.
If your ex-partner is ready to contribute to your child’s sake, then you should be grateful to him for being a great father. Remember not to trash talk about your ex-partner or his family or friends. Despite all your flaws, you were once a big family. Respect each other and each other’s spaces. If your ex has moved on in a new relationship, then you need to respect that fact as well. Give him that space he needs because he is leaving no stone unturned in being a good parent along with you.
Don’t brag about what happened in the past but be present with what is.
Co-parenting is a strenuous task, especially if you do not live in the same city or locality anymore. Sometimes your children visit your ex-partner for several days. Plan accordingly.
WHEN YOUR CHILD IS GOING FOR A STAY:
- Remind your child that there may be a change in the atmosphere.
- Make a particular routine for your child.
- Always drop off or pick up your child on time and respect the time of the other partner.
WHEN YOUR CHILD IS BACK.
- Don’t keep asking your child about how is stay was as soon as he comes in.
- Give your child some space and time to adjust to the change of place.
- Try and have some time together by doing quiet things first like reading a book.
Parenting is one job in this world where the payment is the happiness of the child. A child’s behavior speaks a lot about his bringing up, and values taught at home. A bruised childhood has haunting memories and can devastate a child’s mind and heart forever. Hence, think about your child and his smile, and you will know that nothing more is necessary than that upward curve of his lips.