At the beginning of a divorce it is common for parents of young children to focus on equal access to the children and an even division of child care responsibilities. In the mess, parents lose sight of how these conflicts around time and responsibilities affect long term co-parenting relationships. More worrying, these conflicts also affect the children. (Children are, by the way, very aware of the conflict. Even at a young age.) Right now, you need him to pick the kids up exactly at six. When he doesn’t arrive until 6:30 arguments ensue. Yet again conflict takes center stage and the kids may wind up standing by the door waiting. And not just in the literal sense. Kids get lost in divorce, and that undermines their own emotional development and growth.
But there’s hope. Co-parenting conflict does not have to take center stage. Divorced and divorcing parents can work together and focus on their children. Mediation is one way to turn conflict into collaboration with a focus on the kids.
A good first step is to choose to mediate your divorce. A mediated divorce begins working on the post-marriage relationship right away and it lays the foundation for effective and collaborative co-parenting within the new family structure. Through mediation you work on the divorce agreement AND your new relationship as divorced co-parents. By the end, you have at least a foundation to begin parenting together in your new normal.
If you’re already divorced, you can use mediation to address those thorny co-parenting arrangements and responsibilities. Just like divorce mediation, you begin to restructure your co-parenting relationship so that you can work together in the best interests of your children.
Either way, mediation can help you to resolve your current issue and establish the foundation for continued cooperation. The best benefit of all? The kids won’t get left standing in the cold.