Co-parenting is a complex path for parents to walk as they are raising children between two households. We are currently in the second part of a five-part series on co-parenting and in this post, we will be covering the topic of stability. If you missed our introduction to the series, click here to read the post, and make sure to come back over the next few weeks as we cover the remaining topics.
Road to Stability. Research shows that two years after a painful divorce, typically both parents are more adjusted and well-satisfied in their lives, much more than they ever were before they were divorced. Year one can easily be the hardest year of your life. Anxiety will likely be up and grief may be difficult. As you enter year two, you should begin to adjust and everything around you will become more stable.
In year two, you should be able to look forward to your emotions beginning to adjust, your finances finding some stability, your life gaining a routine, and you’ll be figuring out co-parenting. With all of that in mind, try not to make other huge transitions or huge changes in your life during the first couple of years after a divorce.
Protecting the Kids. Protecting the kids in those early years is very important and can be summarized into three Cs.
- Confidant. Do not make your child your confidant. Teenagers and older kids have a tendency to want to know more and put themselves in the middle. They want to know what’s going on and most of the time, that is a very innocent desire. You will want to make a concentrated effort to keep them informed of important details but to make sure not to overshare.
- Companion. Do not make your child your companion. It’s very normal for divorced parents to feel lonely, and to almost move children into the companion role where the spouse used to be as a result. It takes very intentional planning and clear boundaries to not let that happen.
- Counselor. Do not make your child your counselor. Your child is not there to manage your pain or to handle your emotions. Remember that they may be dealing with their own pain and emotions and will need your help to navigate that. Not to oversimplify things, but sometimes kids really need to be given the freedom to just be kids and focus on the things that are important to them.
Help Yourself Heal. The healthier you are, the more healthy your kids can become. Give yourself some time to heal. Give yourself some time to settle into being a stable, secure single person. Recognize and implement the importance of routine. If you’re a dad, recognize that your kids need you to be in their life. They need you to be a stable and present parent. And moms, continue to reach out to those fathers and try to engage them as active co-parents in the process.
At Options Health, we have a wonderful program to help women as they navigate motherhood and parenting. Earn While You Learn (EWYL) is a free program that provides education, emotional support, and material resources to expectant mothers through the toddler years of their baby’s life. Once enrolled in EWYL, you will be connected with a mentor to guide you through an amazing curriculum of parenting classes where you earn credits to be spent in our Care Closet; where you can get diapers, wipes, baby clothes, baby furniture, and more!
Are you a father? If so, we have an awesome program for you too! FIT (Fathers In Training) is a free program that will challenge you to be the best father you can be by walking alongside you through our skill-building fatherhood classes and mentorship.
If you are interested in either of these free programs, please contact us today!
Options Health is a safe place where you can confidentially come and discuss sexual health, pregnancy, and relationship issues with one of our patient advocates. Feel free to contact us today to take advantage of our free services, including pregnancy testing, ultrasound, pregnancy options consultation, STD testing, and abortion aftercare. Call us or text us to schedule an appointment. We are here for you and ready to listen!