If you’re striving to be a good parent, it is safe to say that making your children the top priority is of the utmost importance to you. Mothers and fathers play equally important roles in a child’s life. However, divorce breaks apart thousands of families every year in Arkansas and across the country. When parents separate, children often feel a tremendous sense of loss since their family as they knew it will never be the same.
Although you won’t be able to keep a divorce from having an impact on your children, it doesn’t have to ruin their lives. Children thrive when both parents stay involved, so this is why many divorced parents choose shared parenting as their preferred child custody arrangement. Shared parenting can only work when you and your ex-spouse put your differences behind you and focus on the well-being of your children. Even though your marriage failed, your parenting can still succeed. Here are a few ways to make that happen.
Stay focused on the children
For your shared parenting arrangement to be successful, the first thing you should remember is that the children’s needs and best interests come first. You may have some strong feelings and negative emotions toward your ex, and that is understandable. However, never let what happened in the past affect how you parent your children. If you don’t put the children first and remain focused on them, any shared parenting arrangement is doomed to fail.
Keep a consistent schedule
Children thrive under a consistent routine and schedule. Work with the other parent to set similar chores and routines in both homes. Keep bedtimes, mealtimes, rules and limitations as close to the same as you can. This consistency will help your children feel a sense of security and comfort in both households and greatly reduce the stress that typically comes with moving back and forth between homes.
Communication is the key
Effective communication is the foundation of successful shared parenting. Strive to keep regular and conflict-free communication with your co-parent. This is about the children now, so move beyond your past relationship so that you can communicate effectively for the children. Also, never send messages to the other parent through the children, and always keep your children out of adult conversations.
You and the other parent will not agree at all times during your shared parenting journey. When things get stressful or difficult with your ex, always remember that this is about the kids now. If you maintain a certain level of mutual respect and prioritize communication, you will find a way to make a shared parenting arrangement work for all parties. The laws surrounding child custody can get confusing, so it also helps that there is professional assistance readily available when needed.