You Were Partners in Life, Can You be Partners in Parenting?
Co-parenting isn’t about you and your former partner; it is about creating the best atmosphere possible for the health and well-being of the children you share. Consider these things when seeking to create your mutually beneficial parental partnership in New Jersey.
If 50% of marriages end in divorce, many divorced couples co-parent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a fourth of all children live with one parent. Successful co-parenting implies a partnership, and even if you are divorced, your child’s emotional and psychological welfare depends upon you and your ex’s ability to co-parent in a way that is at least civil and, at best amicable.
Characteristics of Healthy Co-Parenting
Parenting is a tough job that becomes even more challenging when there is a divorce. Parents should see each other as partners even though they are no longer a couple. The parenting plan agreed upon with the divorce should be followed closely. It is healthy for children to share time with both parents. The kids have to come first. A healthy sign of co-parenting is seeing both parents attend sports events, plays, or recitals without making a scene.
In a healthy relationship, parents agree; they have each other’s back. The theory of divide and conquer was never more accurate than in co-parenting. Setting equal boundaries for children such as bedtimes and screen time on a united front provides stability.
In a healthy co-parenting relationship, there is flexibility. Sometimes extended families have activities that don’t necessarily fit into the family plan, or some family comes to visit from out of town. Having flexibility shows a willingness to compromise.
One of the critical components of this relationship is respect. No one speaks ill of the other, not the parents, not the children. Children hear, see, and imitate their parents’ behavior. Co-parents in a healthy relationship respect each other’s time, resources, and ideas.
Communication is probably the most significant factor in having a healthy co-parenting relationship. Parents need to communicate with one another, and the children should have access to either parent regardless of with whom they are residing at the time.
Working on a Healthy Co-Parenting Relationship in NJ
Experts provide pages and pages of advice to divorced couples who want to avoid the toxicity frequently found between parents after their divorce. Here is what some of them have to say. First, show each other respect and civility. If one rule had to be chosen, this would be the one. Do not insult one another in person, on the phone, in texts, when talking with family or friends, teachers or coaches, no one. Your children love both of you, and to hear you speak ill of someone they love is heartbreaking. Do not argue with your ex and not in front of the children if you must. Don’t interview your children after they visit your ex. They will want to make you happy but don’t want to betray the other parent by divulging information they are supposed to keep secret.
Importance of Creating a Healthy Environment For the Children
Children learn how to treat others by watching the people around them. Respect is of the utmost importance in all families, not just those affected by divorce. Children who watch their divorced parents speak to one another civilly, coordinate plans for the coming week, discuss or even disagree politely will learn to do the same. There is security and a sense of safety when parents avoid aggression by demonstrating a willingness to put their children’s needs first. This attitude can later be applied in the children’s lives when compromise is needed. It teaches them to get along with someone even when they don’t agree on everything.
Talking about feelings, holding space for all of the emotions children have, and allowing them to talk about them free of judgment or sarcasm is crucial to their emotional and psychological development. They need to be heard on their terms to develop a confident sense of self. The best environment to provide for them is where both parents are open and willing to listen. Another cornerstone in your relationship with your ex is compromised. Try to keep an open mind and pick your battles. Is that extra Saturday every three months the hill you want to die on? Put things in perspective and focus on the primary goal: happy, healthy children.
Secure a Healthy Setting For Yourself
Divorce can take a toll on the health and wellness of everyone involved. If you want to create a healthy surrounding for your children, it is essential to take care of yourself. You will never be able to move on with your new life if you don’t try new things. Book clubs, exercise classes (Cross Fit, yoga) can put you in a group atmosphere where you can socialize and stretch those “meeting people muscles.” Seeking companionship (platonic or otherwise) is a great way to keep you emotionally healthy. Constructing a healthy space makes coming home something special every day. Even on a budget, adding some pillows here or painting an accent wall there can perk you up and keep you moving. Showing your children that life will continue is the best reason to take care of yourself.
Influence of an Unhealthy Relationship on the Children
When co-parents are constantly at war, their children feel insecure, frightened, and even angry. When there are fights, often, children feel the need to choose a side to please the parent they have picked as the favorite. Children are sponges and absorb everything they see and hear, so when parents disrespect one another by insulting or yelling, it can be traumatic for them. Discussions about back child support, reimbursements for medical or dental appointments can give them the sense that money is scarce. Even if it is, that isn’t something they should be listening to. When children watch their parents fight, they think they are the reason their parents split up in the first place. They carry tremendous guilt, and this unhealthy relationship can cause resentment, hostility, and rebelliousness toward either parent or both.
How Can An Unhealthy Relationship Affect You?
First and foremost, scientists have directly linked the amount of stress a person has and their immune system. A never-ending cycle of colds, flu, stomach viruses, etc., can affect your work and home life, making you unable to function at anything more than the bare minimum. Depression and grief are expected, and getting professional help can slowly help you turn things around. Still, a toxic relationship with your ex will hinder your ability to connect with your family. Stress can affect your appetite and lead you to binge eating or eating very little. The routines you had of exercising, playing with your children, taking time to go to the movies, or having drinks with friends, are all pushed by the wayside, and you isolate yourself. This is a dangerous space to be in emotionally, and seeking the advice of a therapist is a necessary first step.
Contact a Family Lawyer to Help You Build A Good Co-Parenting Foundation in Middletown, Wall, Point Pleasant, and Mantoloking NJ
A divorce is never easy, and when managing the decision-making needed to protect your children can be frustrating when you and your ex cannot agree on much. It is helpful to have someone in your corner to guide you through the process of settlement, a parenting plan, and financial support for the spouse and children.
The first step you should take is to meet with your spouse and your lawyers to make a parenting plan with visitation dates and times clearly worked out, including holidays and vacations. Lawyers, like the ones at the Bronzino Law Firm, are superb negotiators and can help you build a parenting plan for your situation. Sometimes divorce brings out the absolute worst in people. There is hurt, anger, sadness, and fear. The family law professionals at the Bronzino Law Firm are compassionate, good listeners, capable of taking care of your and your children’s rights.
Let us show you the most effective strategies to complete your divorce as healthy as possible for your family. Call us at(732) 812-3102 or contact us online for your free confidential consultation. Our experienced lawyers provide service in Little Egg Harbor, Beach Haven, Manchester, Colts Neck, Belmar, Point Pleasant, Tinton Falls, and towns throughout Monmouth and Ocean County. Let our knowledge and experience provide you with the support you need most at this time.