You may remember those Octobers when you and your family had settled into a solid routine of work, school and your kids’ activities. At some point in the day, you may have shared your upcoming schedules, or perhaps you had a common calendar displayed where everyone could see. Perhaps you shouted reminders to each other over the sound of the kids, the TV and the dog barking. Now that you are facing divorce, you may have concerns about what that shared parenting will look like.
Many Colorado parents use their children as game pieces, holding information hostage to make the other parent look bad when he or she misses important events. While this behavior may have the benefit of a moment of satisfying revenge, in the end, the children suffer most.
Practical ways to co-parent
If you are tempted to treat your ex in this way, psychologists advise divorced parents to avoid letting their egos inadvertently punish their children by denying them the presence of their other parent. Some methods counselors suggest to help you keep your co-parent in the loop during the school year include the following:
- Continue to use a shared calendar. There are apps and websites that allow separated couples to keep a common schedule.
- Stay in communication with your co-parent about assignments and projects your children may have to do and agree on how to divide the responsibility.
- Make sure your children’s teachers have contact information for both you and your co-parent and that the teacher includes both of you in any messages pertaining to your child.
- Share with your ex-spouse your login information for any school portals or teacher websites so your spouse will have equal access to announcements and assignments.
- Contact your co-parent for support if your child becomes ill, begins acting out or allows his or her grades to slip.
You and your spouse may still have fresh wounds to heal, but for the benefit of the children, you may find the strength to present a united front at teacher conferences, parents’ nights and school events. Not only will you both hear the comments your child’s teacher makes about the child, but you will be able to hear your spouse’s perspective, concerns and observations about the children.
It is not as difficult as it seems to take the high road when it comes to co-parenting. Making an effort to include your spouse in the children’s day-to-day routine may go far in building a stronger parenting relationship. Even if you don’t get the same respect from your ex-spouse, you will know you have behaved with dignity for the benefit and well-being of your children.