Co Parenting - What can help?
Co Parenting - Its a common concept in the world we live, marriages and partnerships do break up, it's a fact and there is the realisation that children are in the middle and the that co parenting is the next step. Now whatever that entails 50/50 or weeks at one place and weekends at another, even in the most amiable splits, the children are likely to be affected. It's a change that they will have to get used to. This can't be helped, its a process but it can be recognised. Through my years of working with children, here are some things that have come to light.
first off, the children are grieving and we need to allow them to have that feeling and space to do so. They may be angry with you or your partner, they may cry, shout or rage. Their world is changing and they are entitled to grieve for the past and what they might of felt was normal, even if it wasn't for you. Give them time, let them have these feelings, talk them through it if they want to with either you or a professional. Let them have their own feelings, they're entitled to them, validate them. Even if they're happy that you are leaving the relationship, there will be some elements of mixed feelings.
You might be hurting or having your life made challenging and uncomfortable by your ex and that's exhausting, it's all so easy to say things to our children, try to get them to take sides and turn them against the other person. I'm sure it might take all your strength to talk positively about your Ex, but this can really help a child heal and create positive relationships with others in the future. If you have young children, there is an amazing app called Our Family Wizard, this app allows you to see where your children are, check in and have a healthy communication with your Ex as the wizard will not let you send anything it feels is not appropriate and will do you the added bonus of giving you suggestion to reword it. It can also be downloaded by solicitors and referenced in court as it's a court approved app.
Mediation, This can really help to work out the what's, if's but's and the things that you are both not agreeing on, it takes it out the house/s and into a room with professionals that can help you work through finances, childcare etc.
Who stays where and when - Remember to give your child time and space to pack their bag. Remember how stressed you feel packing for a holiday, running around making sure you have everything, even though you started 2 weeks ago. Now imagine doing this every weekend? Do you think you would remember everything? If you can duplicate some things in both houses, this can take a lot of pressure off them. Remember your older children will still need as much help as your younger ones, they have to remember books, uniforms, sports kits....etc
Decisions - There are going to be things you don't agree with that the ex has done, that's natural and in fact happens in households up and down the country, even families cohabiting argue about parenting. Maybe having some base rules that you both share so that values stay the same? These can change as you go along, be added too etc. This gives the children some consistency and stability.
Last but almost certainly not least, your grieving and hurting too, seek some professional help yourself so you have a space to rant, scream, shout, cry or celebrate that you're out? By you having this space can help you be more present for the children.
Now I'm not for one second thinking its as easy as the above because there are any amount of reasons why people split up or flee relationships, but if you can make one of these changes, even if its the getting professional help yourself, it's a step that could really change the outlook for you all of the future.
Most of all, give yourself a hug and make sure you get some space to breath, you're important too.......