Co-Parenting Success Is Based On A Healthy Mind-Set After Divorce

Co-Parenting Success Is Based On A Healthy Mind-Set After Divorce

By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

Getting divorced and preparing for the responsibilities of co-parenting ahead? This facet of life after divorce can be enormously complex and challenging for several good reasons:

  • Both parents are bringing the raw emotions resulting from the divorce into a new stage in their lives.
  • Mom and Dad are also bringing previous baggage from the marriage – ongoing conflicts, serious disputes, differing styles of communication, unresolved issues and continual frustrations — into the mix as they negotiate a co-parenting plan.
  • Both parents are vying for the respect and love of the children – and are easily tempted to slant their parenting decisions in the direction that wins them popularity with the kids.
  • Anger and resentment resulting from the divorce settlement can impact and influence levels of cooperation in the years to come.
  • Parents may disagree about major issues ahead that weren’t part of the parenting dynamic in the past including: visits and sleepovers with friends, scheduling after-school activities, handling curfews, new behavior problems, consequences for smoking, drinking and drug use, dating parameters, using the car and scheduling vacation time.
  • Parents may not share values and visions for the children as they grow and may also not agree on the plan of action required to honor those values.

When these differing dynamics appear parents might find themselves struggling to find ways of coping. So keep this in mind: Agreement on how to co-parent effectively in the present and the future is not a one-time discussion. It takes on-going communication, both verbal and written as well as regular meetings via phone, email, online scheduling tools or in person. And it takes a commitment to make co-parenting work – because you both want and need it to!

The consequences, when it doesn’t work, can be considerable. Your children are very likely to exploit any lack of parental agreement or unity, pitting Mom and Dad against one another while they eagerly take advantage of the situation. This is a danger sign that can result in significant family turmoil fueled by behavior problems that neither parent can handle. See the headlines across all forms of media as examples of co-parenting done wrong.

When Mom and Dad are on the same page, so to speak, they can parent as a team regardless of how far apart they live. These parents agree about behavioral rules, misbehavior consequences, routine schedules and shared intentions regarding their children. They discuss topics of disagreement and find solutions they can both live with – or agree to disagree and not make those differences an area of contention.

If curfew in Mom’s house is 9:00 pm and it’s 10:00 pm in Dad’s house, that can still work if both parents respect the differences and let the children know it’s all okay. When differing curfews becomes an issue of major contention, that’s when the kids can get hurt – caught between battling parental egos. Children are confused and often feel guilty in battling parent situations, which rarely lead to any good within the family structure.

Keep in mind that when you’re more open and receptive to your co-parent, you are more likely to get what you really want in the end. Good listening skills, flexibility and the commitment to do what’s best on behalf of your children are part of a smart co-parenting mindset. Remember too that co-parenting will be a life-long process for the both of you. Why not do it in a way that will garner your children’s respect and appreciation? They will thank you when they are grown adults.

If you need help with one challenge or any array of co-parenting issues, engage my help through personal coaching or check out the many online coaching tools and programs I offer. They will all support you in making better decisions on behalf of your children and your long-term co-parenting success.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of the acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide To Preparing Your Children — With Love!To get her free ebook, coaching services, expert interviews, programs, e-courses and other valuable resources on divorce and co-parenting, visit:

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5 Smart Ways To Strengthen Your Parent-Child Connection After Divorce

5 Smart Ways To Strengthen Your Parent-Child Connection After Divorce

parenting after divorce

parenting after divorce

By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

Sadly, divorce is a time when we experience disconnection. We disconnect from our former spouse. Too often we often have to disconnect from time spent with our children as well.

That’s why it is important for you to strengthen your bond with your children. Find ways of strengthening or at least maintaining your connections during this challenging period of transition. This is equally true, when you are living with your children as well as when you are apart. That’s the basis of a Child-Centered Divorce.

Children want and NEED to know they are still loved, valued and cared about. Show them, tell them and keep in close communication with them – during the happy times and the sad ones. They need to feel they have a safe place to turn, a shoulder to cry on and a non-judgmental ear when they need it.

If divorce has been tough on you – remember it’s even tougher on them – whether they confide that to you or not.

Here are five important ways to reinforce your connection with the children you love.

1.  Connect through notes and calls:

If you’re living together, slip a note in your child’s lunch box, notebook or on their pillow every few days. A quick joke, cartoon, or just a warm “I Love You!” will let them know they’re on your mind and in your heart. If you’re not together, send an email note or a quick text to convey you’re thinking about them. Schedule phone, FaceTime or Skype video calls at times when you can have a longer conversation.

2.  Connect through idle chats:

While you’re riding in the car, helping with homework or doing chores together is a great time to ask questions, share your feelings, and be empathic about your child’s feelings and comments. Don’t turn these communications into lectures. You’re there to listen. If you judge or condemn, you’ll close the door to learning more.

3.  Connect through bedtime routines:

Spend time reading books, talk about your own childhood memories, achievements and challenges. Be honest about your childhood insecurities and failures. Kids like to know they are not alone in that regard. Ask your child about the best part of their day or a new lesson they learned. Bedtime routines help you both appreciate one another. It also creates a security bond that most children really value.

4.  Connect through new projects:

Create connection through new projects that take on special meaning: a multi-day puzzle, new shelves or other project in their bedroom or garage, perhaps a structure, model or work of art you complete together. It’s a wonderful time to talk and make a stress-free connection. Kids remember these special times and look forward to other experiences that await with you in the future.

5.  Connect through special dates:

Create a memorable outing alone with just one of your children: lunch, the zoo, a shopping trip, sports game or a movie. Prepare in advance so you both have something to anticipate in the days ahead. End the date with a token gift as a “reminder” of your time together. Game tickets, a menu, special photos all do the trick in saying, “I love you.”

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to reinforce your connection with your children, especially as you transition through and after a divorce. It’s the sincerity of your effort, not the money you spend, that matters. Your caring attention positively impacts their lives. It  helps your kids to feel safe, loved and secure, despite the changes and challenges created by the divorce.

It’s also important to welcome these same “dates” and experiences scheduled by your child’s other parent. Never bad-mouth your ex to your children or criticize their special time with the kids. Children are hurt when they feel they have to choose between parents. It’s equally painful for them when they try to emotionally protect one parent from the other. By never putting them in that awkward position your kids will appreciate and respect you even more.

You can’t escape what you model for your children! By keeping that in mind at all times you will choose the path to more positive and successful parenting.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of numerous books, e-courses and programs on divorcing with children and co-parenting successfully. For instant download of her FREE EBOOK onDoing Co-Parenting Right: Success Strategies For Avoiding Painful Mistakes! go to:

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