It is not uncommon for both parties to have trouble adjusting to their post-divorce world. From the loss of companionship to the change in financial status, many adjustments might come as a shock. Unfortunately, as emotionally devastating as the world can be to the divorced parents, it can be even worse for a child to cope with.
The divorced parents must work together to encourage the growth and maturity of their children. This can often put the parents at odds with each other – especially if their marital relationship ended on rocky terms. Two tactics, however, can help parents find common ground after the divorce:
- Silo all parenting interactions: Using this tactic allows parents to create a safe space for all parenting interactions. For example, parents can agree to using an email chain, voicemails or a weekly recap phone call that is solely devoted to managing parenting concerns. Outside of any emergencies, this is a strategic way to limit unnecessary communication that could ultimately lead to arguments.
- Understanding the complexities of communication: Individuals who find themselves in an emotionally hostile relationship often get overwhelmed by a storm of negativity. It is helpful to remember that parental interactions generally occur across three possible phases: emotional, behavioral and cognitive. Understanding your emotional responses can help reduce “conflict triggers.” Behavior-wise, parents must adjust what might be a common need – an immediate text message or phone calls at all hours of the night – to conform with the compromise of the communication silo (discussed above). Finally, changing thoughts and attitudes can often mean shifting your perception of your ex from a hostile adversary to your coparenting partner.
No matter how toxic the end of the relationship, it is crucial that divorced parents transition to a cooperative coparenting mindset. Finding common ground with your coparent benefits the child’s growth and maturity even in the often-chaotic post-divorce world.