4 Parenting Tips for Separated Parents



Separation is tough on everyone, but you must do your best to avoid letting your conflicts, tension, and emotions impact your children. No matter how angry you are with your spouse, now is the time to work together.

4 Co-Parenting Tips for Separated Parents

If you think the stakes are high for you, consider how high they are for your children. Your separation and pending divorce will impact your children for the rest of their lives – including their most formative years. 

As difficult as it is to put yourself second in a major life decision, you have to. Your kids come first – parenting your children is the ultimate priority – and everything else gets figured out after that. 

With all of that said, here are some helpful tips to help you co-parent in the middle of a divorce:

  • Create a Consistent Schedule

Kids thrive on consistency and predictability. When you create lots of change in a child’s life in a short period of time, it can make them feel worried and anxious. This often leads to bad behavior, poor performance in school, and difficulties forming healthy relationships with peers. 

One of the best things you can do is create a consistent schedule for your children. Every day doesn’t have to be the same, but there should be an ebb and flow to the week. For example, you keep the kids Sunday through Wednesday, and your spouse keeps them Thursday through Saturday. Every Sunday, you go to church; every Monday afternoon, there’s dance practice. Consistency creates the illusion of control, which is healthy during this time.

  • Never Fight in Front of the Kids

You and your spouse might fight a lot these days, but never do it in front of the children. It’s simply not healthy, productive, or appropriate. You have to put your differences aside when you’re in the presence of your kids.

If there’s an issue that has to be dealt with right away, consider using a codeword or phrase that the two of you know. This word indicates that the two of you need to talk in private. Then when you do talk in private, avoid yelling and screaming. The kids are more perceptive than you think.

  • Hire the Right Divorce Attorney

Hiring a divorce attorney probably isn’t something you’re excited about doing. It is, however, a very important step in the process of moving on with your life. Make sure you choose wisely.

“If you want to be present and have influence, you have to choose a divorce attorney who creates the best possible outcome—not just on the financial side, but how the parents split the holidays and summer vacation time,” says attorney Rowdy G. Williams.

When searching for an attorney, ask for referrals within your network. Make a short list of options, and be sure to vet their experience, credentials, and past cases. You’ll also want to sit down for an initial consultation to get a feel for who they are.

  • Keep Old Family Traditions

Remember that kids don’t like change. Consistency goes a long way in keeping kids balanced and at ease. Aside from keeping a consistent schedule, make sure to observe family traditions. This includes holidays, vacations, and other annual gatherings. It might be awkward for you, but you’re doing it to maintain normalcy for the kids and show them that everything will be okay.

Working Together for the Sake of Your Kids

You have a new life ahead of you. You’ll recover and find happiness and love again. Your children, on the other hand, don’t really have the option of moving on. Yes, they’ll eventually get to a place where it no longer stings like it does today, but they only get two biological parents. Whatever else happens in life, they’ll always be impacted by your divorce. That shouldn’t make you feel guilty, but it should put things into perspective. 

You’re feeling different emotions than your children are. For you, relief and anticipation may be the most defining emotions you feel. For your children, it might be pain, fear, stress, and anxiety. You owe it to your kids to work together and co-parent as best you can during this trying time. Don’t do it for yourself or your ex-spouse – do it for them!


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