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Co-Parenting After Divorce or Separation: Cheat-Sheet

Bringing up children is a challenge whether you are doing it with alone, with a loving partner or co-parenting after a separation/divorce. Teaching, motivating and working with your child takes energy, wisdom and creativity.

Even though you split as a couple, parenting continues. This can be tough if the separation or divorce was stressful and left negative feelings. Nevertheless, you need to act like a pro because you and your children do not get a second chance at parenting.  Kids have wants, too.

Guidelines to remember:

Focus on the children. Get past the hurt and anger. Don't worry about where your ex is spending his/her money or who he/she is seeing. All communication should be about the children so remain focused in your texts and emails.

Never make assumptions. If your ex is 20 minutes late for a child exchange, do not make assumptions that the reason is just to annoy you. Do not take everything personally; perhaps, a word perhaps suggesting a call to alert you to a late exchange is enough.

Find an outlet for your frustrations. Your kids will hear when you speak badly about your ex over the phone and it places them in an awkward position. They are entitled to love and respect both parents and should not have to feel that they need to take sides. Speak to a friend when you are alone, when the kids are at a playdate or you are alone in the car. See a therapist or counselor.

Keep your side of the street clean. Follow through on what you said you would do. Be courteous, as you expect that behavior from your ex.

Tell the truth. Stay age appropriate. Tell the truth to the kids, but temper it with what is age appropriate. Further, there are topics between the parents that are not appropriate to ever tell the children at any time.

Lastly, consider mediation even after the divorce if there are parenting issues that need to be reviewed and revised.

Source: The Co-Parenting Cheat Sheet by Honoree Corder, The Huffington Post, 6/4/14

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