A break up is just that, people break up. They live in separate homes, and move on with their lives. It’s isn’t that simple when children are involved. You can’t walk away from your children or the responsibility you both have for their wellbeing. Children need stability and divorce doesn’t provide it, but as co-parents you can remain a united front for the sake of your children. You have to be prepared to set aside your differences and parent together. Most likely this won’t be intuitive to either of you and will take practice. A united front means your united in working together for the well being of your children.
Ideas to Help Maintain a United Front for Divorced Moms:
1. Be consistent – Children need and crave consistency and structure. Don’t say one thing and do another. Agree on the rules together and stick to them.
2. Don’t bad mouth each other – One of the absolute worst things you can possibly do is degrade your children’s father in front of them. They won’t take a united front seriously if they hear you bad mouthing their dad on the phone to grandma. Be extremely careful with your words.
3. Be complimentary – Do the exact opposite of bad mouthing. Be complimentary when talking to your children about their dad. Give him his props and don’t make him out to be a bad guy.
4. Keep adult conversation between adults – Don’t talk about court or money issues that pertain to custody in front of your children. This is extremely uncomfortable for your kids and actually makes them feel like they’re caught in the middle. Talk in private about these issues.
5. Communicate what’s going on with your kids – Technology has made communicating easier than ever. Stay in contact about your children’s activities through email, texts, or share a Google calendar to record the visitation schedule, doctor’s appointments, field trips, lessons, tuition due dates or anything that’s occurring in their life.
6. Make consequences stick in both homes – Consequences are vital to discipline. If you ground your child for the weekend and they’re visiting their dad that particular weekend they should be grounded there as well. Again, don’t let them play you against one another. Keep each other abreast on discipline.
7. Allow kids to be comfortable in both surroundings – Your kids should feel comfortable in both homes. They may not adjust quickly and that’s expected. Allow them to bring their belonging to both homes. Don’t say, “You need to keep this at our house, not at daddy’s.” They can easily feel torn in two directions. Also they should feel comfortable telling both parents what they do over the other’s house. Neither parent should ever condone secrets.
8. Be in touch with your kids – Whether your children are at your house or his house. They should always feel comfortable calling you at any time. You should also have adequate access to them. This builds a sense of security in them, especially if you have younger children.
9. Don’t argue in front of the kids – Keep your little member under control. Don’t argue in front of your children. You can’t be a united front if you’re engaging in an all out battle in front of them.
10. Keep the relatives in check – When people split up relatives have a tendency to take sides. This makes birthdays and other events uncomfortable. If you notice a relative is discussing your divorce with your children, or bad mouthing your ex-spouse don’t allow it to continue. Politely ask them to refrain from talking negatively about your situation around your children.
The key to establishing a united front is both parents need to be willing to agree on boundaries and collaborate with one another. If not it won’t work. Now, if your ex-spouse decides they don’t want to cooperate it doesn’t mean you have to stoop down to a level that is unbecoming of your life as a follower of Christ. Set standards and boundaries for yourself and follow through with them. Let your Christian light shine and be the change you want to see.
Copyright © Chere Williams, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved
I have a blended family. I am actually good friends with my husband’s ex-wife. This advice is dead on. We set aside our differences (and believe me, there were many) finally for “the sake of the children” (such a cliche but so true!) and things have been SO much better!
I’m so glad to hear that. It isn’t always easy but is worth it for our children. God bless you!