Co-parenting protects your children from the physical and psychological effects of your divorce
Going through a divorce, even an amicable one, can be excruciating. But as physically and psychologically draining as dissolving your marriage can be on the adults involved, divorce can be even harder on your children. Fortunately, just because you’re getting divorced doesn’t mean your children are doomed to suffer. Healthy co-parenting relationships are shown to mitigate the effects of divorce on children.
Nearly 50% of children’s parents are divorced
If your children are currently going through your and your spouse’s divorce, they’re not alone. Close to half of American children will witness the breakup of their parents’ marriage. Studies show that children whose parents divorce are:
- 50% more likely to develop physical health problems
The pressure of a divorce can also cause sleep-related issues for your children such as bed-wetting and nightmares.
Before you’re overwhelmed with guilt about the potential for your children’s future problems, it’s important to know these statistics aren’t your fault, and they aren’t destiny. Divorce is unfortunately often the best possible course for a dysfunctional marriage. And, although there is no way to completely shelter your kids from the physical and emotional impact of your divorce, you can mitigate how much they feel those effects by making an effort to engage with your ex in peaceful co-parenting.
What does it mean to co-parenting after a divorce?
Co-parenting is the ideal form of post-divorce parenting-a relationship in which both parents are involved in all decisions involving their kids. Everything, from where they go to school, how old they have to be before they can get their ears pierced, have a cellphone or begin dating, is decided as a team. Co-parents work together to support each other’s decisions and maintain healthy, flexible boundaries.
Not only can this style of parenting force you to mend fences and arrive at a more amicable relationship with your ex, it can help your children cope with their shifting family life.
The benefits of peaceful co-parenting after divorce
Studies show children who report that their parents demonstrate healthy co-parenting are generally better adjusted than their peers who a high-conflict divorce. Positive co-parenting behaviors such as mutual respect, involvement, communication, and cooperation are demonstrated protective factors for the children of divorced families.
Co-parenting isn’t easy. Setting aside your differences with your ex-spouse is a lot to ask in the wake of a divorce. But when your children are involved, most parents know that no sacrifice is too big for their health and well-being. For tips on co-parenting, check out our post about Co-Parenting Successfully After a Divorce.