Christine A Howard

Parenting Through Divorce: Backing Each Other Up

Being a special needs family is a tough business, which is probably why special needs families have one of the highest divorce rates.  With stress levels already high, parenting after a divorce can be especially stressful for families dealing with special needs.  It is important to understand that children have the biggest eyes and ears in the world. They watch everything, they hear everything and they copy everything that their parents do.  Special needs kiddos are no different, and may actually pick up on tensions that typical children may not.   It’s for this reason that when you’re embroiled in the heat of divorce, you have to keep a united front for your children. Backing each other up even in divorce is the best gift you can give your children.

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Why is this so important you ask?

There is nothing worse to a child than their family splitting apart. Having to live in separate houses and having separate time with each parent is a huge stress on kids. The people who can make this transition the easiest is you as the parent.  The best way to do this is to always back each other up.  After all, one of the reasons that you divorced in the first place is to save your child from fights and disagreements between the both of you.  If you keep things going even after the divorce is final, it will only make things worse for your child.  

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Seek Outside Help When Needed

People who go through a relationship breakdown aren’t exactly the friendliest to each other. However, when children are involved you need to be fist-bumping, high-fiving parents – at least in front of them. Children will act out when they are stressed.  If they sense stress among you, and if you are not standing together, they will know. Don’t make the mistake of making your child the go-between – relaying messages between you.  

If you are finding that having a simple conversation is difficult, seek outside help. Having a consultation about child support and family maintenance is probably a good first step.  Topics of money and support tend to bring up so many negative emotions. It’s always better to have it legally hashed out so that both of you can move forward together as co-parents.  Backing each other up is going to make your parenting lives a lot easier and more consistent. It also means that your children will feel like things are under control, so they can feel more secure.  

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Lower Your Own Stress

Backing each other up doesn’t just benefit your children.  It also keeps a shaky relationship on neutral ground. You should be able to talk about what you’ve each done with the children while you’re apart with happiness and pride. Discuss any issues and worries about the children together while staying emotionally apart.

A consistent approach to parenting will mean that children are secure and happy, and it also means that they are confident about how you treat each other. They may not see two parents adoringly in love.  They will, however, see two adults who respect each other as parents and can work together despite their differences. This is a huge example to set for children in a world where more than half of all marriages end in divorce. It can give them hope for their own future.

It’s Worth It In The End

Making a point of backing each other up even after divorce is going to help you to continue to raise happy individuals.  It will also help you keep the respect that you once had for each other alive, as well as help when it comes to occasions that you both need to attend as parents. To be able to get through the pain of divorce and still stand together is a big achievement. To do it as successful co-parents is an even bigger one. Work together for the future of your children, so that they will know you care more about them than you do yourselves.

Parenting Through Divorce:  Backing Each Other Up

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