It may be difficult at times, but co-parenting and maintaining a respectful and cooperative relationship through co-parenting arrangements with your ex-spouse for your children will go a long way in helping them adapt to the changes in the family structure.
Here are some tips to try.
Co-Parenting with Your Ex-Spouse
- Redefine your relationship with your ex-spouse. You may no longer be husband and wife but you will always be parents to your children.
- Come up with an agreed parenting plan that should include areas on decision-making, scheduling and even rules on co-parenting.
- Discuss with your ex-spouse the way that you would like him or her to communicate with you. You may choose the telephone, text or e-mail messages. You may also continue to communicate through your lawyers.
- Be an effective listener.
- Be willing to negotiate instead of remaining firm about getting your own way.
The divorce may be over and you may now have to cope with the responsibilities of being a single parent. Do not be afraid to seek help and support from your family members, friends, and the resources available in your community. You can also seek help from Divorce Support Specialist Agencies which provide an array of support for divorced parents and children.
When you are able to attend to your needs, you will be in a better position to help your children get through this difficult period of adjustment.
You could also help by focusing on your children's needs. Here are some ways to do that.
Ways to Focus on Your Child
- Spend special time with your children regularly. Be there for them both physically and emotionally.
- Encourage and support the scheduled times between your children and the other parent. Agree together on a workable parenting plan..
- Try to avoid letting your children see or feel the anger or frustration you have towards your ex-spouse.
- Build up your children’s self-esteem. Encourage their interests and abilities and recognise their efforts and achievements.
- Consider your children’s feelings above all else and think about how you can help them.
Make Transitions Easier
- Gradually introduce new routines that will encourage the family to relax and have fun.
- Maintain family traditions and rituals, especially the ones that are important to your children.
- Consider your children’s needs above all else.
- Should you enter into a new relationship, introduce your new partner gradually into your children’s lives.
- Be kind to yourself and take time out for ‘me’ time.
The Divorce Support Specialist Agencies (DSSAs) have programmes to help divorcing couples and their families. To find out more about their programmes and how you can help your children cope with divorce, please visit DSSA Services and Programmes.
To better protect the interest of children affected by their parents’ divorce, divorcing parents with minor children below 14 years of age (to include children below 21 years old at a later phase), who cannot agree on all matters of divorce including an agreed parenting plan for their children, will need to attend a mandatory parenting programme before they can file for divorce. The programme will cover a range of issues that may affect their children including housing, school, care arrangements and positive co-parenting after divorce. Divorcing parents would be able to apply for this programme online via the MSF divorce support microsite and other online platforms in mid-November 2016.