Here are some great basic steps to follow as a coParent. Remember, the goal is to keep it child-centric!
- Strive to model cordial, respectful communication about the other parent, both verbally and nonverbally.
- Speak positively about the other parent’s traits, skills, or interests to your child. Remember, for the first years of your child’s life he/she heard others make admiring comments like, “That’s JUST LIKE your Dad… You smile JUST LIKE your Mom!” Our children want to be like us in important ways, and we want them to continue to be proud of both of us as they grow up to become who they are.
- Give your children direct messages about enjoying a great relationship with the other parent; repeat it often.
- Help your children with preparing for the other parent’s birthday, Mother’s/Father’s Day, and other special holidays.
- Facilitate and maintain the child’s healthy relationships with family members on both sides of the family.
- Accept your children’s relationship with your ex’s new partner (when that time comes), despite your own feelings.
- Reassure children in words and actions that you are okay when they are not with you. Children don’t need to worry about their other parent being lonely, or sad, or in some way “not OK” by being alone.
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Karen Bonnell’s book, THE CO-PARENTS’ HANDBOOK. For more information on Karen or her book, visit http://coachmediateconsult.com/co-parents-handbook/