It’s hard enough raising kids on your own, but when you have to do it while sharing custody with an ex-partner, things can get a lot more complicated. Unfortunately, if you and your co-parent aren’t able to successfully cooperate and communicate, it can seriously hurt your kids. Here are six ways that bad co-parenting can hurt your children.
Getting divorced is hard for everyone involved. It’s hard on you, your partner and your children.
But your kids are the ones that matter most of all. When you’re in the middle of a separation, it’s easy to feel like everything is too hard. Life is changing after all, and this is an entirely new set of circumstances to get used to. If you think it’s a challenge, just imagine how incredibly unstable it must feel for your children.
Being the child of divorced parents, I can tell you that there aren’t too many things harder to do in this world than co-parenting a child.
Having been right in the middle of it, I know that sometimes, parents act in a way that might seem harmless to them, that actually has a profound impact on their kids. So, if you’re separated, have you ever:
1. Used Your Kids As Messengers
There were times in my parent’s divorce when I felt like I was working for Australia Post. Nobody carried more messages than I did. I hated it. The problem with telling your kids to inform your ex about something is that if your ex doesn’t like the news, it’s the kid who feels like they’ve done something wrong.
Plans for visitation, who’s going to do the pick-up and who needs to pay for something are all adult discussions, and kids shouldn’t play a part in it.
2. Vented To Them About Your Partner
There are always going to be moments your ex grinds your gears. After all, you wouldn’t have divorced them if it was rosy all the live long day. The problem is that no matter how much you hate your ex, your child has a genetic responsibility to love them.
So when you angrily vent to them about what your ex did wrong this time, they’re absorbing all of those emotions and becoming even more confused. Be calm in those situations, and if you need someone to talk to consider seeing a counsellor. Take it from me, your kids don’t need it.
If you’re not a venter, you might still be guilty of doing this: passive aggression. Just say your ex calls and says they’re running late for a pickup. You sign audibly, put the phone down and turn to your child. Looks like they’re going to be late, again you say shaking your head.
Sure, it might seem harmless to you, but this is passive aggression, and it sucks. Do yourself, and your kids, a favor and don’t translate those hangups. Kids in the middle of divorce have enough on their minds.
4. Tried To Win Them Over
There’s a little part in most separated parents that really want to be ‘better’ than their ex-partner. Squish that part of you right now. I can tell you that no matter how much you try and convince your children you’re the better parent, whether it’s by slagging off your ex or trying to win them over, it’s not going to work.
Instead, you should be focusing on your own parenting journey, without worrying about how it compares to your partners. Have a good communication stream with your ex about how co-parenting will work, and then stick to it.
5. Encouraged Them To Mouth Off
All kids get grumpy at their parents every now and again, especially if they’re teenagers. In the middle of a separation, this can be a tempting moment for you to score some points for yourself. When your child vents about how bad your ex is, it’s often hard to resist agreeing with them and offering examples that perhaps they shouldn’t have known.
Stop. Everyone needs to vent, and your kids should be able to trust you and come to you with their problems. But they want you to listen to them, do not turn their problem into another opportunity for you to insult your ex.
6. Played The Game
Parents who don’t handle separation well often find themselves playing what I like to call The Game. The Game is when one parent feels like they’re losing in the relationship split. Maybe the other person got a nicer place, maybe they already have a partner, maybe the kids enjoy spending time with them more.
Who knows. The Game is when you start to share nasty rumours about that person or accidentally let things slip to the kids that they shouldn’t know. This is dirty and low. It doesn’t matter how much of a bad person your ex is, your kids will hear these rumours and it damages them too.
In the same thread, if you’re on the receiving end of the game don’t let your kids see that it’s stressing you. Talk to a counsellor if you need to, and go through it with your head held high. You’re better than that, and you’re teaching your kids to be the same.
Getting divorced isn’t easy, but by keeping some of these things in mind you know that at least you aren’t making your kids suffer with you. Childhood is already a challenging time, with lots of new things to learn and understand. Let your kids rely on you and your partner, co-parenting even while separated. It’s a good lesson for them about putting other people first, and a good lesson for you as well.
How to make co-parenting work even when it’s tough
Co-parenting can be tough – especially if you’re not on good terms with your ex. Even if you’re getting along okay, it can be tough to coordinate schedules and make sure both parents are involved in their child’s life. Here are some tips to make co-parenting work, even when it’s tough:
First, try to communicate openly and respectfully with your ex.
This will be easier said than done, but it’s important to set aside your personal feelings and focus on what’s best for your child.
Second, make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to parenting style and discipline.
It can be confusing for children if they’re being raised differently in each household, so it’s important to have an unified front.
Finally, be flexible and willing to compromise.
There will inevitably be times when you both want different things for your child, but it’s important to be able to work together to find a solution that works for everyone. By following these tips, you can make co-parenting work – even when it’s tough.
What is co-parenting and why is it important for children’s development
Co-parenting is when both parents work together to raise their children even though they are no longer together. It is so important for children’s development because when bad co-parenting happens, it can really damage the relationship between the parent and the child.
For example, if one parent is always putting the other parent down in front of the child, or if one parent is always trying to make the other parent look bad, that can really damage the relationship between the parent and the child. Co-parenting is so important because it helps to avoid that damage.
When both parents are working together to raise their child, it shows the child that they are both important in his or her life, and it helps to build a strong relationship between the parent and the child.
The benefits of co-parenting for children
Bad co-parenting can have a negative impact on children. It can create feelings of insecurity, confusion, and abandonment. It can also lead to behavior problems and academic difficulties. Co-parenting, on the other hand, can provide children with a sense of stability and security.
It can help them to develop positive relationships with both parents and to feel comfortable communicating with both parents. It can also give children a chance to see that their parents are able to work together for their benefit. Co-parenting is not always easy, but it can be beneficial for children of divorce.
By taking the time to communicate and cooperate, parents can help their children to thrive.
How to get help if you’re having trouble co-parenting effectively
Bad co-parenting can be really tough on kids. If you and your ex are having trouble co-parenting effectively, there are a few things you can do to get help.
- Try to communicate with your ex directly to see if you can resolve any issues.
- If that doesn’t work, you can reach out to a mediator or counsellor who can help you communicate better.
- You can also look for support groups or online resources specifically for parents who are struggling to co-parent effectively.
Remember, you’re not alone in this – many other parents are going through the same thing. With a little effort, you can find the resources and support you need to make co-parenting work for your family.