5 Tips on Co-Parenting at the Beginning of Your Divorce

Hi there,

Many of you will end up being able to co-parent admirably, and this will include many of you who are struggling with the tough initial stages of working out a co-parenting arrangement.  If no one is pathological, then time will generally settle things down.

In the meantime, here are some tips to keep things from blowing up:

1.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  In a perfect world the kids would have the same experience in both homes.  That is not going to happen.  Don’t worry if things are different at both houses — different meals, different clothes, and yes, different bedtimes.  These differences help make the children of divorce more resilient than their peers, and resilience is a very good thing!  Do raise some issues; for instance, any surrounding inherently dangerous activities and food if there is a medical/allergic condition that the kids have.  You should agree on those limits.

2. Don’t try to communicate in person or by phone if you or your spouse are still raw.  Email and texting have truly made divorce parenting easier. You are both communicating and creating a record.  Always be civil and polite.  You can make faces at the … Keep reading

Tip# 5 of the Top 5 To-Do’s When You Want to Divorce: How to Tell Your Kids

Hi there,

This is the most important — and may be the most difficult — thing you will have to do when you decide to divorce.  If you can (and emotional and logistic circumstances may prevent this), try to tell the kids about the divorce together.  Also, try to tell them as soon as possible.  Past the age of 5, I think children are quicker than parents at recognizing emotional clues, and once they are emotionally vigilant they can overhear way more than you would expect.

Talk through with the other parent just what you need to say to the kids.  Almost all libraries have a good selection of how-to books on telling your children that their parents are going to divorce.

Children of different ages have different responses to divorce; the way you tell them should be coordinated to the developmental ages of your children.  I have long thought that the younger a child is, the less stress he or she feels at divorce.  I believe, and the data bears this out, that adults and young adults are often the most psychologically stricken by their parents’ divorce.  They also are vulnerable to being treated as a confidant, sometimes … Keep reading