Missouri dads: Put aside differences when co-parenting with an ex

Divorce is not doubt hard on Missouri fathers and mothers. However, during this crucial time, parents need to be able to put their own hurt feelings at each other aside and do what is best for their children.

Kathleen Shack, a family therapist, said the first step toward good co-parenting is for the parents to each work on themselves. What she means by this is that each parent needs to work on the emotional baggage that dumped itself during the divorce.

Staying or acting in a way that shows emotionally stability will let the kids know that mom and dad are going to be able to continue to take care of them. This will ease a lot of the worries children may have.

Another important tip for co-parenting is to never criticize or bad-mouth the other parents in front of the children. This can send mixed messages and make the children feel like they are being forced to pick a side.

Rather, by never bad-mouthing the other parent, it re-enforces the message that even though mom and dad have gotten a divorce, everyone is still a family, just in two separate households.

Of course, many times this is all easier said than done and it is tempting to get in a screaming match with an ex-wife or ex-husband. When this temptation is there, Shack tells parents to picture their children before sending off a nasty email or telling an ex off over the phone.

Often, parents stay together concerned that a divorce will hurt their children. However, if certain steps are taken — such as working on emotional stability and resisting the urge to bad mouth — successful co-parenting is more than possible and children will learn to adjust in a healthy way.

Source: Fox 5, “Successful co-parenting amid strain of divorce,” Tacoma Perry, June 24, 2013

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