Parenting is a hard job under normal circumstances, but after a divorce it can seem impossible. Not only are you adjusting to a new situation, your children are going through a hard time as well. Everyone in the family will be on edge, wondering where things will go from here.
Hopefully Your Ex is Willing to Co-Parent
If you have a cooperative ex with joint custody, parenting after divorce can be a lot easier. When the two parents can keep each other updated on how and what the child is doing, back each other up when the going gets rough, and mostly get along in front of the children, parenting becomes much less of a chore. However, few situations wind up this way. In fact, it is much more common for parents to stop speaking to each other at all, and children to rebel and act out without either parent realizing just how bad they are getting.
Communication With Your Ex Can Be Challenging But Very Helpful
It is important to maintain at least some open lines of communication in joint custody situations. At the least, parents should keep each other updated on the child’s grades, activities, and any trouble that they get into. At best, parents will enforce punishments across both households, jointly attend extracurricular activities, and in all ways bolster the confidence of the child. Both parents should strive to show their children that while they are no longer together, they remain a united parenting force.
Even if You Are Doing It Alone, You Can Still Do It
If you are a single parent where your ex is not involved at all, you may find yourself between a rock and a hard place. You will want to be everything for your child, but at the same time you must make sure that they behave and learn life’s lessons. Discipline in these situations often becomes difficult or nonexistent. You must not let this happen. Even though your child is going through an adjustment period, they must be made to behave. If you let them get away with too much initially, it will lead to more problems later on down the road.
Regardless of your situation, it is important to understand that your child is going through a major life changing event, just as you are. You must be patient with them and understanding, while still being firm with rules and consequences. In some cases it may be wise to seek professional help such as a counselor to help your child with the adjustment period. While parenting may seem like a bigger chore than ever after a divorce, the basic principles are the same. Love your child unconditionally, and help them grow to become the best person they can be.