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Post-Divorce Co-ParentingAfter divorce, it’s the parent’s job to level out the field for the children, not vice versa. As an ex-spouse you might be a complete wreck, but as a newly single parent you are going to have to be a complete rock. But for a child of divorce there should be two rocks helping each other to level the child’s field (or world). This is the most difficult aspect of divorcing with children. No matter how the divorce occurred, there are feelings of distrust, pain, spite, and sometimes unchecked malice between the parents. So how can you possibly make co-parenting work with the person you couldn’t stay married to? By keeping your eyes on the common goal: Raising your child right.

Your Ex, Their Parent (Still)

When you divorce, your status changes from married to single, you stop wearing that symbol of marriage on your finger, you no longer sleep with someone every night, and you last name might even change. A seeming endless number of things change when you get divorced, but what will never change in a divorced family is your roles. Think about it, just because you divorce your child’s father or mother, they don’t stop being the child’s father or mother. So after a divorce, avoid the need to verbally sever all ties with your spouse by referring to them as “your ex.” Your ex should instead be “my child’s father/mother.”

Kids Are Kids, Not Friends

As much as you might want to create a friendly relationship with your child, you must always remember they are your children, not your substitute for loneliness. Being a single parent is hard because you’re time is completely devoted to your child, leaving no time for “adult time.” The temptation to lean on your child as you would a friend your own age, but don’t give in! This doesn’t mean that you have to shut out all adult emotions; it just means you’re going to have to find a way to vent those feelings to a friend your own age without your children present. So get that babysitter on speed dial.

This is Not a Game

Parenting is not a game. The parents should never be divided and played against the other; they should be on the same team. So maybe parenting is a game, but not a competitive one since the parents are on the same team and the children are on the opposing team. This is especially true after divorce, because nothing is more unstable for children than constant Team Parent arguments. So this means not setting up your spouse for failure with your child, and no passive aggressive outbursts towards your ex. No one said this would be easy.

So the concept of raising your child right is a bit (try a lot) vague, but that’s okay because the focus right now isn’t how to raise your child. The focus right now is how to raise your child with your ex. We billions of humans on this earth may not agree on how to raise our children, but we all agree how our children should feel in their families. Children should feel safe, loved, and like they can always rely on their family. This is still a completely do-able goal for divorced families, as long as the parents work together.

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