Divorcing couples often think that they will be “done” when the court documents are signed and the divorce is finalized, and that there will be only smooth sailing ahead. But, after the documents are finalized, there is the new normal to navigate, particularly regarding parenting.
Co-parenting while no longer cohabiting is a huge adjustment for families in the wake of a divorce. Although co-parents are no longer married or living under the same roof, they are still in the same boat when it comes to raising their children, and so communication and cooperation is more important than ever.
After a divorce, co-parents’ attitude towards each other must be “All hands on deck!” instead of “Abandon ship!” or “Hey, you! Walk the plank!” Co-parents who continue to diligently communicate and cooperate in raising their children are much better captains over the course the children’s lives will take. Of course, regardless of the situation, children sometimes try to play parents against each other in hopes of getting what they want. This attempt at mutiny often begins something like this: “Mom/Dad said I could…”, and with no confirmation of the other parent’s consent, Mom/Dad agrees to let the child do x,y, or z. Important information can be distorted or omitted altogether when children are placed in the middle of what should be an adult conversation about what is appropriate for children. This scenario can be avoided through active communication and cooperation between co-parents.
Co-parents that work together to divide and conquer life’s challenges after divorce keep their family afloat in the inevitable waves that come with life.