It is important to learn how to effectively co-parent because it will prevent children from being “Caught In The Middle” when parents get divorced. Research suggests both difficult and promising news: Children from families of divorce may suffer painful consequences, and yet children who are surrounded by support and given the skills and information needed to cope with the situation suffer fewer painful consequences.
Once parents are committed to effectively co-parenting, they will realize that it is important to learn how to effectively co-parent. Both parents will soon 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.
One of the most difficult issues for parents who share responsibilities for children is the issue of visitation. These guidelines are meant to give you several ideas so you can learn how to effectively co-parent. Each family must find what works best for them while avoiding too much pressure being put on the children. It is important to learn how to effectively co-parent because it will prevent children from being “Caught In The Middle” when parents get divorced.