Being a better divorced parent for your children

"How to be a better divorce parent" by Erin Silver, is a great article about how to refocus on the future after an emotional divorce in order to put your children’s needs ahead of your own needs so that you can effectively co-parent with your ex-spouse.  

As the author states, one of the best things you can do after your separation is to “let go of the past and build a new relationship with one another on a whole other level. Thinking about things in that way – respecting and trusting one another as co-parents, rather than distrusting each other as former spouses...”

She also discusses the benefits that mediation had for her and her ex-spouse in helping them learn to communicate with one another better and compromise for the benefit of the children. These are lessons that you are not likely to learn in the midst of protracted contested litigation because you, by the nature of the proceedings, have opposing views and positions on what is best for the children.  

Finally, she provides many great tips on how divorced parents can effectively co-parent.

  • Know that successful co-parenting involves parents working together to create security, stability and consistency between the two homes.

  • Help your children have meaningful and healthy relationships with each parent by supporting the other parent and their household. By being positive, you will promote more open communication between you, your child and your co-parent.

  • Whenever you are unsure what to do, make your children and their needs your guiding light.

  • Try not to blame the other parent. It is not helpful to anyone. It risks leaving your child feeling like they are caught in the middle and need to take sides.

  • Don’t use your children as messengers by communicating through them; if you cannot communicate directly, use a professional.

  • Don’t “parentify” your child, or make your child feel that he or she has to take care of you.

  • Save your energy and resources to focus on those areas that are of most importance to you and your child. Avoid conflict over minor concerns.

  • Remember that you cannot control the other parent, but you can control your own behavior and your response to provocations.                                               

                                               Tips by Stella Kavoukian, mediator and therapist in Toronto