Ground rules for parenting after separation or divorce

Working out a new way of parenting following a separation can be a tricky proposition, with parents needing to consider the needs and feelings of different party, not just those of their kids but also of their ex-partner and of course themselves.

To help you through this challenging time, below are some ideas for how to parent effectively after divorce or separation.

  • Respect each other’s privacy; don’t interfere in the other’s household.
  • Extend common courtesy and manners when you meet, as you would to a colleague or acquaintance.
  • Make appointments to discuss things. It could be useful to meet on neutral ground, like a coffee shop. Sometimes it’s easier to stay calm in a public place.
  • Don’t hold anger in, but do avoid physical conflict and fighting about the children in front of them. Bear in mind that your children will benefit from a good resolution to your differences.
  • Search for solutions, not fault. If you both think you can not do it on your own, find someone who has the skill to mediate.  
  • Explain to the children how you both have decided to settle the differences. Children need to know.
  • Give your ex-partner the benefit of the doubt; don’t make assumptions based on what the children have said. Check things out calmly with your ex-partner.
  • Be businesslike; keep your feelings in check; evaluate your ex-partner’s behaviour, not by how you feel but by how businesslike it is.
  • Be trustworthy; follow through on your agreements. Once arrangements for the children are in place... STICK TO THEM! Children need as much certainty as their parents can give them at a time like this.
  • Concentrate on your own relationship with the children. Let your ex-partner parent in his or her own way.
  • Put things in writing; don’t assume. Make sure agreements and plans are explicit and detailed as to time, place, cost, and so on.
  • Make the pledge never to take a child away, or to use the children as ammunition, to hurt the other parent.

For more information on how to support your children during a divorce or separation, download our free e-book "What about the Children?"

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