The modern Texas family courts do everything they can to make divorce as straightforward and simple for families with small children as possible. Unfortunately, divorce can still be very difficult for children and teenagers. Many families unintentionally exacerbate the negative effects of divorce on their kids by taking a contentious approach to the process.
If you want a divorce, you and your ex probably don’t have a great relationship right now. However, your children will need you both to become the best parents you can be. You have to find a way to work together as co-parents who focus more on the needs of the children than on your own emotional reactions to the failure of the marriage.
Try to agree to disagree on some things
Maybe your ex cheated on you, or perhaps they developed bad habits that contributed to the end of your marriage. Whatever the situation, you have to find a way to let go of your pain, anger and resentment toward your ex. If you can’t forgive them, you can at least agree to not bring it up anymore. Your kids will benefit from having you both in their lives.
Your interactions with them should no longer center on your relationship, but rather the relationship that each of you still has with your children. Look at them not as a failed former partner but as a parent who is helping you raise your children. You can still disagree about things and have negative feelings about one another while working together for positive changes for your kids.
Consider therapy if you can’t work through your feelings
Many divorced parents benefit from either attending a support group or seeing a counselor or therapist. The therapist you work with has an obligation to keep your discussions confidential, which can make it easier for you to process your feelings after your marriage. Working on yourself is a way to become healthier and happier, which can only positively impact your children.
Your therapist may also be able to guide you toward healthier interactions with your ex. In fact, you may want to consider co-parenting therapy. Especially if you had a breakdown of communication skills at the end of your marriage, co-parenting therapy could support healthy ways to communicate and provide a neutral third party who can help you explore the various issues affecting your ability to parent together.
Try to keep things consistent between your houses
Even if you don’t agree on everything, you need to find neutral ground on major parenting issues so that you can work together. Try to create a parenting plan that has consistent rules and expectations for both households, then, work on seeing your ex as your partner in parenting your children. If you respect them, that will improve the chances that your children will, too.