"We are doing great and we share responsibilities and thoughts about kids. Written agreements on expectations, communication requirements etc. are helpful."
"Removing all emotions and advice from my communications has made things easier. Also accepting that he will continue to be who he is and nothing I do will change that.”
"Being able to work together for the benefits of each other and our Children."
how to co-parent
Co-parenting after divorce or separation is often anything but easy. Married couples don't always agree on raising children, divorced usually even less. Frustration, anger, exhaustion and concern can be in the way of finding your co-parenting path, especially in the beginning. It is not easy, and it needs a lot of work.
But unless there has been serious issues - like domestic violence or substance abuse - co-parenting is usually the best way to ensure that most of your child's needs are met and that the child has a close and loving relationship with both of the parents.
The relationship between co-parents has a strong influence on the mental well-being of the child. Staying calm and consistent, being able to communicate directly and resolve conflicts without involving the children will make co-parenting work and help your kids to be at their happiest. Don't expect this to happen in an instant, it requires a lot of determination, work and will, but is possible.
"Anger and sadness destroys the communication."
"Respect each other even if you are mad. If have nothing nice or problems solving things to say, be silent and talk after you are calm. Different cultures react different even for divorce."
"It's tiring and hard work, sometimes emotions get in the way but mostly we do a good job."
When co-parenting, remember these:
Put your own hurt and anger aside. Separate your feelings of divorce from parenting and behaviour. Be civil and respecful of another. Stay focused on the child and stop negativity. Cordiality goes a long way.
Don't talk badly about your ex in front of the children or let others around you to do that. Go above it and say positive things about your ex to your child. Encourage your child's relationship with your ex - who's their Mom or Dad.
Make communications better with your ex. Think of your communication with your ex is about the well-being of your child. The aim is to have conflict free communications - use texts if talking ends up badly. Don't send any messages through your child. Stay kid-focused and factual. Make requests instead of demands. Listening and patience give you tools forward, and remember that usually it is good to wait: answer only when your are calm. Especially if you are splitting time 50-50, you need to be able to communicate actively about your child at all times.
Keep promises and agreed timetables. Trust builds up only when agreements are followed. Written agreements and timetables keep things clear for both. If occasional flexibility is asked by your ex, it usually is also rememberd when you'd need it. Keep in mind that broken promises affect your child.
Try to co-parent as a team. Aim for consistency in rules, timetables and discipline in both homes. Keeping routines helps your child to adjust. There will be differences but basics should be agreed on and consistent, like bedtimes. Keep communicating to solve problems. Sometimes letting go when dealing with small things will not be only helpful but also leave yourself less stressed.
Keep each other informed of your child's important dates, schedules, hobbies, birthdays - and changes to them. There are also apps to help organize these.
Make transitions and visitations easier. Stay positive about the transition & visitation for your child. Remind them early enough and help to back. Try to have essentials and important toys in both homes.
Make your home a place of security where your child feels safe, loved, taken care of and respected.
Give your child time before introducing new partners. Your child wants and needs to spend time just with you. Be considerate also for your ex when new partners come along. Think if you'd rather hear about your child meeting your ex's new partner directly from your ex rather than accidentally from your child who can also ask you questions about that.
My child has met his father maybe 10 times since divorce 4 years ago. He is not involved in anyway. I am a single parent."
Sometimes there is no possibility to have both parents in the child's life after divorce. If you are raising your child alone, shower your child with even more love and affection - on behalf of both of you to give your child the feeling of being loved and cared for. Don't forget to find help and lean on your support group - you need to take care of yourself as much as your child.
Raising happy intercultural kids after divorce
“It was important for the children to understand their own identity. And that means they are Finns and that they are Greeks. I still visit his family and also met his new wife and child. I feel I became somehow Greek myself.”
For your intercultural child to grow with a strong self-identity, it is important to keep both parent’s cultures alive in his or her life – to have positive experiences and memories from both sides –
and especially continue to have a positive attitude towards the minority culture: the cultural background that is not as present and visible as your child’s Finnish side here in Finland.
Child’s identity is formed with the knowledge of feeling of belonging and knowing your roots. Your child has an intercultural background which you can help to grow and flourish. In the middle of a divorce it is not usually easy to foster your ex-spouses background but when doing so, you foster your child’s identity and self-worth.
"Unfortunately we don’t have any contact with the father’s family. I do speak about the memories I have, when we visited them when my child was small."
"My child lives 50% of time with me, goes on holiday with me etc. So I can keep contact with British friends/family etc in much the same way as when we were married."
To support your child’s intercultural background, remember these:
co-parenting after divorce
Parent's tips for divorced parents
Dad's co-parenting tips
Parenting plan lists all the things that should be agreed by parents. Exact timetables and rules set out clear expectations for both parents as well as for children.
Children's everyday life after divorce guide by THL
Parent's guide by EKTL
ASSOCIATONS FOR DIVORCED AND SINGLE PARENTS
self-reflection and Homework
- Ask your ex's opinion about something related to your child - this can help starting positive communications between you two. Choose a topic you don't feel too strongly about and ask your ex's input to show you value it.
- Think how you or people around you talk about your ex and the ex’s culture – what kind of remarks are said, what kind of tone there is - how does your child talk about his/her background?
- How can you support your child’s intercultural background in your everyday life?
- Remember positive stories about your ex’s culture and your common history and share those with your child
- Draw a family tree together and share nice stories of different family members