There are so many ways to help your children to thrive post-separation or divorce. The most important thing you can do as parents is to make a conscious effort to help them to become resilient. I have come up with my Top 10 Tips for parents, divided into two articles to make it more palatable. Here’s Tips 6-10. Find Tips 1-5 here.
Tip #6 – Learn to communicate effectively as co-parents
Effective communication is a learned skill, and it is the foundation of every co-parenting relationship!
There’ll be a lot of organizing and arranging that needs to be done, and the better you’re able to communicate, the more smoothly the co-parenting experience should be.
My clients identify to me all the time that communication was one of the main stressors of the relationship – so add in a separation of the homes, and the communication becomes even more difficult
Get into a routine on how to best communicate about certain topics. Certain topics may be good for texting, while other things may be better verbally or by email. Check out the loads of co-parenting apps out there – a Google search will bring up a number of them – my favourite is Our Family Wizard.
Don’t forget that you can download our FREE e-book “Effective Co-parent Communication” by becoming a member of our e-learning portal, Up A Notch Learning.
Tip #7 – Get consistency between households
Children thrive on consistency. We talked in Tip #2 about consistency in a parenting schedule – it’s also important to have consistency between two households. It can be difficult for kids when each home runs very different ships – the more consistent the homes, the easier time that children will have settling into each parent’s home after an exchange.
Parents will want to avoid too much difference because children will start to favour one household over the other when one house is more lenient. It’s helpful to have consistency on things like:
- Electronics rules – screen time limits, curfew
- Homework rules
- Electronics at mealtime
- Nutrition guidelines
- Chore expectations
Tip #8 – Liaise with those professionals who surround the children
There will be a lot of professionals who will surround your children, who will be helping them along as they grow and develop. These are people like:
- School Administrators, teachers, and other education professionals
It’s important to have parents both be involved 1st hand with these professionals where possible because these people will be making recommendations which may impact your children significantly – either by attending meetings or appointments, by receiving notifications directly, or by having access to an online portal where information about the children is key.
This will help in being able to ask questions directly of these professionals which can avoid conflict between the parents if the parents have differing views or interpretations of the professional’s advice.
Tip #9 – Choose an out-of-court negotiation process
Negotiation process matters! If we know that co-parent conflict is toxic for children’s development, then it is important to do what you can to be as constructive as possible during your separation & divorce negotiations.
Typically the adversarial process – meaning the divorce court process – can tend to escalate the conflict between separated co-parents. By choosing an out-of-court divorce process like Mediation or Collaborative Divorce, you are choosing a process which bridges the gaps rather than widening the gaps between parents, and is intended to help minimize or reduce the conflict between parents.
This is good for kids!
Tip #10 – Reduce the Conflict between co-parents
This tip builds off the last one. Evidence shows that toxic stress, which can be caused by high conflict parents, or a high conflict household, can be detrimental to children’s brain development.
Children who are exposed to toxic stress will be at greater risk of developing emotional, social, and behavioural issues. The interactions between co-parents post-separation or divorce should be business-like and cordial. Get out of the spouse brain – into the parent brain.
As renowned author and mediator Karen Bonnell says, your job is to be CEO’s (co-parent executive officers) and operate like you’re running a business together – the business of parenting. Act as you would with a business partner – cordial and business-like, with your goal being the effective raising of these beautiful children to become well-adjusted, high-functioning members of society.
The best way to do that is by reducing the conflict between the co-parents. I hope that by moving into two homes, that the children will be able to experience two healthy, low conflict households moving forward. This will give your children the best opportunity to grow up healthy, well-adjusted, resilient children in two houses.
Henka Divorce Law & Mediation is a Collaborative Law and Family Mediation firm that helps families thrive as they transition to separation, divorce, or cohabitation. Understanding that every journey is different, we guide families through the right legal or mediation process that fits their unique situation.
Our client service is built on three pillars – focusing on the future, nurturing and supporting children, and working together towards well-being. This includes considering everyone’s needs throughout the process. We work closely with families to provide a meaningful and fair resolution, while keeping costs down by staying out of court.
We serve families in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada through their separation or divorce by providing in-person and virtual Collaborative Law or Mediation services.
With extensive knowledge in matrimonial law, our founder Stephanie Dobson uses a caring, results-focused approach to help parents navigate a family separation or divorce while they connect with and support their children. Learn more about her approach and credentials.