How Texas Men Can Make Co-Parenting Work. Many children are “Caught In The Middle” of parental divorce. Ideas on helping children cope. Dads! Make It Work!
How can this be done? Co-parenting is a phrase used to describe divorced or separated parents who are sensitive to their child’s distress and who learn techniques that avoid putting children in the middle. Lets face it, many couples find it extremely difficult to divorce amicably. Typically there’s potential for a great deal of anger, resentment, disappointment and pain. Parents may use children as weapons by controlling the other parent’s access to the children or financial support. They may use children as “spies” or trash each other in front of them. All of this puts children at risk and may add to the burden which children of divorce already face. Some of the typical sources of conflict are:
- Religious/values education
- Medical issues
- Education and/or career plans
- Recreation (sports, hobbies)
- Parenting styles
When a family is reorganized because of separation or divorce, the parenting responsibilities also need to be reorganized. Remind yourself about why it’s important to develop a new partnership as parents for your child/ren:
- Children benefit from having a positive and supportive relationship with both parents.
- Cooperative parenting reduces the levels of stress that echo throughout the entire family.
- The absence of communication between parents or the presence of conflicting communication hurts the child if he or she is placed in the middle.
One of the most difficult issues for parents who share responsibilities for children is the issue of visitation. The following guidelines are meant to give you several ideas to work from. Each family must find what works best for them while avoiding too much pressure being put on the children.
The guidelines that follow are examples of constructive parenting goals that promote the well-being of the children by helping them grow into healthy, happy, whole people.
- Both parents should encourage visitation to help their children grow and develop in a positive way.
- Children need to know that it is OK to love both parents.
- In general, parents should try to act respectfully toward each other, at least for the sake of the children.
- Each parent should show respect for the other’s views concerning how to raise the children by trying, where possible, to be consistent. For example, if one parent is strongly opposed to having toy guns for small children, the other should take this view into account when buying toys.
- Each parent is entitled to know the whereabouts of the children during visitations, as well as whom the children are with (such as a babysitter or friend), if they are not with the other parent.
- The parents should discuss and try to agree on the religious education of the children, as well as on who is responsible for seeing that the children attend religious instruction.
- It is vitally important that each parent let the other know his/her current address and home and work phone numbers.
- Both parents should realize that visitation schedules may change as children grow older and have different needs.
1. Be as flexible as possible about visitation schedules.
Give the other parent as much advance notice of changes in visitation as possible.
Remember to give the other parent your vacation schedules in advance and, where possible, provide your itinerary.
Remember that your children may have plans that could affect your visitation schedule.
Respect their need for flexibility.
2. Make visitations a normal part of life.
Find activities that give you and your children opportunities to build your relationship, but also allow some time just to “hang out” together.
Provide a balance of fun and responsibility for your children.
Encourage some visitations that include grandparents and extended family.
Make sure that your children have places that belong to them — even if it’s just a section of a room in your home so it can be their home too.
Help your children get to know others in the neighborhood, so that they can have friends in both homes.
Keep to a routine and a schedule in preparing your children for visitations.
Have a checklist of items that children need to bring/take (clothing, toys, etc.). If the children are old enough, they can help pack or can pack independently.
Sometimes, if it’s appropriate, allow your children to bring friends along.
On occasion, separate your children, so that you can have individual time with each one.
3. Show respect for your former partner and concern for your children.
Show up on time.
Inform them in advance if a new person/partner (for example, new babysitter, new partner) will be part of the visit.
Share changes in address, telephone numbers, jobs, etc.
It is not always easy but learn how how Texas Men can make co-parenting work. Many children are Caught In The Middle” of parental divorce. Ideas on helping children cope. Dads! Make It Work!