Practical paths to positive co-parenting

Once divorced, Virginia parents of minor children must find new ways to work together for the good of their children.

For most Virginia parents who get divorced, the challenge of figuring out how to work collaboratively together for the kids is a hard one. If communicating and working together positively was easy, the parents may never have gotten divorced. However, instead of allowing negative feelings to get in the way of what is good for kids, parents can take a conscious and proactive approach to co-parenting after a divorce.

How should I communicate with my ex?

Helpguide.org suggests that requesting, not demanding, is a good way to think about approaching conversations with a former spouse. Anything that sounds even remotely like a demand may put the other person on the defensive and set a conversation up for failure. A request, in contrast, creates an environment of collaboration and positive direction.

Some people may find it helpful to think about having a conversation with a coworker. Being polite and staying focused about the topic at hand can help to avoid letting emotions or unrelated topics get in the way of what matters.

MindBodyGreen recommends that people stop to think about the other parent's point of view. This can always be an effective way of reducing frustration before opening up a conversation.

If emotions begin to get heated, one effective tactic to avoid a full-blown argument is to ask for time to think about the matter and discuss it later. This time-out approach can go a long way toward reducing conflict.

What should both parents agree on?

According to Psychology Today, it is beneficial for kids if both parents agree on similar household rules and responsibilities. Even maintaining a consistent routine for meals or bedtime may be helpful in providing kids the structure and stability they need. If grandparents or other extended family members are active in kids' lives, it could be wise to clarify exactly what they will be allowed to do and when.

How should I talk to my child about my ex?

Children benefit from having strong relationships with both of their parents. One way that this can be facilitated is by hearing their parents speak positively of each other. In addition to making a point to never bad-mouth the other parent, moms and dads could do well to actively seek opportunities to say something nice about the other person.

Allowing kids to see their parents being polite to each other such as at exchanges or school events is another way of telling kids that it is safe to actively love both parents.

How else can I support my kids during and after my divorce?

Children will have many needs during and after a parental divorce. The best ways to address these needs can vary based upon a person's situations. Virginia parents should always work with an attorney during a divorce to get help in navigating all of the changes that the end of a marriage will bring.