Divorce is usually a time of personal upheaval. It affects your social life, your finances and your living situation. There are a variety of fears that are common for women facing divorce, including financial concerns and worry about how it will impact their children. This very serious concern is one you actually have control over.

The more contentious your divorce becomes, the harder it will be on your children emotionally. Ideally, you and your ex will take steps to mitigate the impact of the divorce on your kids. Working together to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship can reduce the strain of divorce on your children and help you focus on the positive changes coming your way.

Be willing to discuss your parenting plan before you head to court

Even if you can’t agree on custody terms, you and your ex can still establish parenting priorities and rules. It’s important for both of you to be on the same page. Discipline and expectations need to be consistent between both houses.

That way, the children cannot manipulate you or play you against one another after the divorce. Instead, you can present a united front and maintain expectations for certain behaviors and standards, regardless of where the children are staying.

There are two benefits to this approach. First, the children will quickly realize that they can’t manipulate the divorce to their advantage and must still behave properly and perform in school. Secondly, having consistent rules in both houses can reduce the strain on the children after the divorce. Their lives will remain relatively similar, regardless of where they are staying. The more steps you take to limit upheaval, the smoother the transition for them.

Take care in how you talk about your ex in front of the kids

You surely have a lot of feelings about your spouse as you approach divorce. After all, you wouldn’t be seeking a divorce if everything was great. Regardless of who did what or how you feel, you should not place that burden on your children.

The kids don’t need to know why you divorced, even if it is something very upsetting like an affair. Similarly, the children should not have to witness you and your ex fighting or overhear you talking poorly about one another. If nothing else, you and your ex can hopefully agree to protect your children from your emotions toward one another as the divorce proceeds.

Respecting each other in front of the children helps protect both parental relationships with the children. It also reminds the children that they should still respect both of you, despite the divorce. So long as you can both keep your decisions and actions focused on the best needs of your children and mitigating the emotional impact of the divorce on them, you will find it easier to co-parent with your ex.