Earlier this week, we began a discussion about how difficult it can be for children whose parents have divorced. They may experience significant emotional difficulties that can negatively impact their school lives, friendships and even their health.
But in a recent article, the story of one Florida family shows that cooperative co-parenting is possible after a divorce. A woman and her ex-husband were able to put their differences aside in order to both stay involved in their son's life at school and provide him with a consistent home life in each household.
In addition to communicating calmly and discretely with school staff about the divorce, parents are encouraged to stay involved with school activities. This includes both parents making an effort to attend parent-teacher conferences, sporting events, performances and other school functions. For most events, you won't need to sit together or even talk to one another, but it will mean a lot to your child if both of you are there.
If the child travels back and forth between two homes, it is a good idea to make sure he has some consistency between households. One divorce mediation expert tells parents: "Maintain a smooth, predictable, loving, and supportive environment in your own home and during transitions [to the other parent's home]. Keep a clear set of expectations in your own home that includes time for your children to do schoolwork and for you to help them."
Finally, it is important to have a policy of open, non-judgmental communication with your child. Make sure he understands that the divorce had nothing to do with him. Also allow him to vent feelings, frustrations and grief. Resist any temptation to badmouth your ex in front of your child or put him in the middle.
Cooperative co-parenting is not easy. It often seems to go against the reasons that many couples get divorced in the first place. But if you hold the health and happiness of your child as a common goal, you and your ex may be able to work together just enough to achieve it.
Source: SchoolFamily.com, "Divorce: How To Help Your Child at Home and at School," Patti Ghezzi
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