4 Tips for an Anxious Co-Parent
Every family wants to have their own happy ending. Sadly, life isn’t always fair, and some marriages end with a divorce and you need to start a co-parent process.
As you embark on a new chapter in your life, it’s important to remember that your former spouse will still be a part of it. After all, you will always share the gift of raising your child together. But you are an anxious co-parent, you want to make sure your child grows up well-loved despite the circumstances. Don’t worry, we’ve rounded up some tips for managing those uneasy feelings:
1. Focus on Your Healing
As you navigate your way through divorce, it’s easy for feelings of anxiety to the surface — what if you have trouble rebuilding your life, or what if you end up drifting away from your child? These are all perfectly normal doubts. However, you must rise above these worries so that you can raise your child in the best possible way. It’s important to be kind to yourself so that you can focus on your own and your child’s mental health, which Maryville University suggests has a strong link to academic success. By taking care of your mind, you are setting yourself up to learn the ropes of co-parenting much easier. In much the same way, being mindful of your child’s mental health can help them feel secure in their new family setting and tackle the many trials that childhood will throw at them.
One of the best ways to manage your anxiety is to identify what triggers it. This will allow you to create strategies to help you cope in a healthy manner — whether it’s minimizing the risk of the triggers occurring, or looking at practical responses for when they do. In the long run, taking care of your mental wellbeing will create a healthy environment for your child to grow up in.
2. Have Healthy Communication Habits With Your Co-Parent
Whether it’s discussing your child’s sleeping arrangements for the month or attending a parent-teacher conference together, you will find yourself in situations wherein you will have to converse with your co-parent. While feelings of unease might seep in, both of you should be on good speaking terms as repressed emotions can lead to an unhealthy relationship.
But aside from your ex, it’s also important to be honest and open when communicating with your child. Researchers from the University of Arizona have found that children display symptoms of depression when they feel alienated by their parents. This means that healthy communication is key for your child’s development. For effective co-parenting, you should both agree to set any ill feelings aside and to speak with humility and respect. Not only will this help you stay relaxed, but you will also set a good example for your child.
3. Build A co-parent Balanced Schedule
Now that you live in different places, it’s understandable that both you and your ex want to have as much time as possible with your child. Although you have definitely started separate lives, your paths will still be connected through your shared experience of co-parenting, and part of this means dividing your child’s time in a fair way.
Once you have formed a strong foundation for communication with your co-parent, creating a schedule that will work for both parties can become a much smoother process. This can help keep your anxiety at bay since a predetermined routine will help bring stability into your co-parenting situation. What’s more, this can also ensure that your child will always have the proper emotional support, as a study published in the BMC Psychiatry Journal found that children dealing with separation are more likely to develop depression that will be carried into adulthood.
4. See the Bigger Picture
One of the main duties of any parent is to lead their child towards the right direction. And despite the fact that you and your spouse are no longer together, the two of you are teammates when it comes to parenting. With different schedules, rules and even parenting styles, it’s easy to feel concerned when your child is with your co-parent.
However, as we’ve previously written in our list of ‘Five Things To Remember About Being a Co-Parent’, having a unified approach can help anxious co-parents. We know that parents make sacrifices and co-parents make even more. Yet, you will ultimately find peace in your family’s situation when you both raise a happy child.
Written and submitted by Rachel James
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