Thousands of Florida children are impacted every year by divorce, and according to research from relationship skills training organization PAIRS Foundation, children of divorce are three times more likely to have problems in school and five times more likely to commit a crime.
Child and adolescent psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein offers three tips for effective co-parenting to stop trouble before it begins:
1. Respect each other. You do not have to like each other, but you do need to exhibit respect and positive ways of resolving conflict to present a good model of that behavior for your children. Speaking negatively about each other creates resentment and anger in your children.
2. Do not put your children in the middle. Do not put your children in the position of being the messenger between mom and dad, and especially do not ask them to take sides in any disagreement you may be having with your ex. You are the adults, and you need to learn how to communicate with each other in an adult fashion.
3. Communicate with each other. Children naturally pit one parent against each other in order to gain more freedom or special treats. The best cure for this is to agree to maintain a consistent approach to your child rearing in each home, and keep the rules the same in each place. Keeping the lines of communication open between the two of you will make each of you better parents.