While communicating with an ex can certainly have its challenges, effective co-parenting is a must for divorced parents. When serious co-parenting mistakes are made, they can wreak havoc on a child’s self-esteem, emotional health, and future. Here are a few of the more common co-parenting mistakes divorced couples make and what they can do to avoid them.
1. Putting the Children in the Middle
It can be tempting for divorced parents to pump children for information about their ex and the happenings that go on when the kids are with the other parent. Unfortunately, this type of behavior puts unnecessary stress on children and often makes them feel as if they are in the middle of whatever conflicts may be occurring. Unless parents feel that the safety and well-being of their children are at risk, they should avoid interrogating kids about their ex’s life.
2. Fighting in Front of the Kids
When conflicts arise, parents should wait until the kids aren’t around to tackle them. There is a time and place for conflict between divorced parents to be resolved, and in front of the kids is not it. It is not uncommon for tempers to flare up and emotions to run high after divorce. and situations can get out of hand fairly quickly if parents aren’t careful. Exposing kids to these tense situations can lead to anxiety, fear, frustration and emotional trauma.
3. Being Rigid with Parenting Schedules
Life happens for everyone, including exes. When parents refuse to be flexible about parenting schedules when situations come up, it causes conflict with the other parent and can hurt the children even more. Being understanding and compromising with an ex can ensure that kids spend qualify time with their other parent instead of ending up in the care of a sitter or missing out on special events.
4. Giving Kids the Rundown
Children are not meant to be emotional supporters or therapists for parents. By overloading kids with inappropriate information about the divorce, the other parent, or conflicts that arise, parents can cause children to become frightened, angry and resentful. Kids should be given the chance to be kids and parents should be sure to fight their own battles.
Avoiding these and other co-parenting mistakes can help give kids the strength and tools necessary to overcome life’s hurdles as they continue to grow.