Navigating the emotions of a divorce can get difficult, especially in the beginning when negative feelings are intense, and the future is unknown. However, as hard as it is for adults to maneuver through the new partnership role with an ex, it may be more challenging for the children involved.
Barring safety issues, it may be the best-case scenario to reach a custody agreement, as Hawaii is a state that can determine custody in the best interest of a child. Once an issue is left up to a court’s discretion, there may not be a guaranteed outcome. So, in the child’s best interest, there are a few strategies to employ when practicing healthy co-parenting roles following a separation or divorce.
Separate emotions from parenting decisions
Divorce is rarely easy and can have long-term impacts on everyone involved, especially children. Coping with the loss of the family structure, splitting time between parents or even tension in the relationships can result in behavioral changes in children.
Sometimes these changes are temporary, but they can also lead to long-term effects. Helping your child understand and cope with the different household structures may mitigate lasting impacts. Though the relationship is now different, you and your partner can still co-parent effectively if:
- You stay on the same page about rules, expectations and chores.
- Keep discussions to child-focused topics.
- Don’t discuss feelings about your ex with your child.
- Don’t involve the children in disagreements.
- Reframe your relationship to a business partnership with healthy children as the product.
As difficult as it is for adults to navigate the changes in a separated marriage, it may be harder for children to understand. Reaching a custody agreement may help alleviate some of the negative emotions kids feel during a divorce. When possible, keep it child-focused and have a solid parenting plan.