Most New Year’s resolutions focus on a singular purpose and goal for a single identity: you. But after a divorce involving children, the primary focus needs to be on the kids. And good parents do just that: they focus on the happiness and health of their children to a point. All decent and loving parents should make it a point to always maintain good relationships with their kids and stay in their lives even after a marriage ends. Regardless of what kids say during emotional spikes, they want and need that consistency. Co-parenting works wonders when it’s done correctly, but many parents still struggle to keep up with the expectations. Fortunately, there are a few effective co-parenting resolutions that can improve your parenting time and help your kids heal and be happier throughout the year.
Spend Quality Time with Each Kid Daily
Regardless of their ages or attitudes towards you after the divorce, it’s crucial for both parents to spend some quality time with each kid individually and separately on a daily basis. If you have several kids, still spend time together. But even 10 minutes alone with each one doing homework, discussing after-school activities, or planning the upcoming weekend can go a long way towards strengthening your bond and helping them feel secure with the new situation.
Pick Your Battles and Fight Correctly
Co-parenting is short for “cooperative parenting” which is different from joint or shared parenting. If you argued or fought with your ex during the marriage, that’s likely to continue sometimes after the divorce is final. However, fighting in front of or around the kids has long-term negative effects. So avoid it at all costs. Instead of fighting over every situation, weigh each issue carefully and decide if letting it go will help or hurt your kids or if it’s just a pride issue on your part. In most cases involving loving and attentive parents, the issues are pride-based and they can be resolved privately.
Limit Medium Availability with Your Ex
There are countless ways of communicating and keeping track of your partner nowadays, including phone, text, email, social media, FaceTime, and the list goes on. But once you’re divorced, there’s no reason to keep such tabs on your ex. Consider which medium methods work best to get your point across and reach the other parent when necessary and ditch the rest.
Improve Your Routines
Kids always benefit from consistency and divorce is not the time to challenge that. Routines involving important life aspects such as bedtimes and bath times, curfews, homework and activity schedules need to be identical or as close as possible at both households. Parents also need to split duties and assign chores so each child develops and maintains responsibility for helping to keep the households running smoothly. That gives everyone less time to wallow and more time to work together as a family.
Focus on the Positives
According to Pew Research, 88% of solo parents are mothers and 35% of solo parents end up co-habitating with a non-biological partner to help with the parenting duties. Co-parenting success requires patience, flexibility, and gratitude. Divorced parents can effectively raise healthy and happy kids by incorporating a positive outlook on most life issues and letting more of the small stuff go. Of course, if you’re not sure where to start, your Michigan divorce attorney can help you take those first steps.