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Is My Co-Parent Purposely Damaging My Relationship with Our Child?When parents get divorced, their ongoing relationship can be tricky to navigate. Unlike other divorced couples, co-parents do not have the option of living completely separate lives. Maybe they spend time with their kids together or perhaps they only communicate regarding parenting arrangements and other necessary decisions. While it is always advisable to have an amicable co-parenting relationship, this is not always the case. In fact, some parents will go so far as to create a division in the relationship between their child and their co-parent in a tactic known as parental alienation.

What is Parental Alienation?

The term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) was coined in 1985 by child psychologist Richard Gardner to describe the behaviors seen in a child when they are subjected to parental alienation. When one parent discredits the child’s other parent, this can directly influence the child’s relationship with the discredited parent. The words and actions that are done to damage this relationship are known as parental alienation. This can come in many forms, a common example being one parent telling the child that their other parent does not love them or care about them. He or she can also provide in-depth details of why their marriage failed in an attempt to turn their child against their other parent. The severity of parental alienation tactics can vary and may not always be intentional. However, these criticisms can leave a lasting, damaging impact on the quality of the child-parent relationship.

Signs of PAS

Parental alienation syndrome is not an officially recognized mental health condition, but a court may acknowledge one parent’s efforts to damage the other parent’s relationship with their child. If you have suspicions that your child is being subjected to parental alienation, look for the following signs:

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How to Successfully Co-Parent After a Contentious DivorceRarely do couples walk away from their spouse without some conflict arising in the divorce process. For some, the property division process can reveal hidden assets or greedy intentions that you never experienced with your spouse throughout your marriage. For parents, deciding their future parental arrangements can bring out an ugly side of them. You may argue over who will be the primary parent, what legal rights you each have, or how often each parent will spend time with the kids. Whether you deliberate over every little detail or have one, large argument that damages your relationship further, it can be difficult to move forward as co-parents. With a combination of good communication and self-recognition, you and your co-parent can begin to transform your damaged romantic past into a well-working, co-parenting relationship.

Self Responsibility

As silly as it may sound, taking good care of yourself – mentally, physically, and emotionally – can in turn improve the way that you treat others. It is important to recognize your successes and faults from your marriage so that you can make progress moving forward. Many divorcees will continue to blame their ex for the breakdown of their marriage and age-old arguments will never be left in the past. If you do not take the time to heal or work on yourself, your past can continue to damage your future relationship with your former spouse. 

Focus on Common Goals

The reason that you and your spouse filed for divorce was a lack of romantic or lifestyle compatibility, not your inability to care for your kids. Even if you still see and do things differently in the parenting department, recognizing that you have a common goal – your child’s happiness – can help bring you back to the real purpose of your continued relationship. If you both acknowledge that your child is your priority, this can help mitigate any other disagreements that you may have about how to raise your child.

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How to Help Your Child Through Divorce Depending on Their AgeMarried couples who have children often take the longest to recognize that their relationship is no longer working and to end their marriage. Children can act as good distractions, allowing you to focus on parenting rather than being a husband or wife. Parents may also see how good their spouse is as a parent and use this as an excuse to stay married even when their romantic and emotional relationship is non-existent. Coming to the decision to divorce is never easy and the thought of telling your kids about the split can be enough to keep some parents in their marriage “for the children’s sake.” 

If you have decided that divorce is right for you, you may be wondering how to help your children through this time, especially if they are all different ages. Since children have different development levels depending on their age, it is important to have age-appropriate conversations with your kids when telling them about the divorce and during the months following the finalization of your divorce.

Ages 0-5

Children this young can have an easier transition period since they do not yet have a sense of “normalcy” in their lives. As they get older, they will likely not remember a time when you and your spouse were together and their “normal” will be two loving parents who are no longer married. For kids this age, it can be difficult for them to understand where their other parent is at the beginning stages of the split. They will likely ask you where their other parent is for weeks, if not months, on end. When telling them about the divorce, you should provide them with simple, concrete explanations about which parent is moving out, where the child will live, and when they will see their other parent. It may be confusing to them at first, but providing them with a consistent schedule and stable, nurturing care will help ease the transition.

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Finding Things You Can Look Forward to in Your Life After DivorceAlmost everyone will agree that divorcing your spouse is difficult. Ending such an important relationship is hard for anyone, whether the decision to end the marriage was mutual or not. Even if you and your spouse both agree that the marriage should end, the emotional process of breaking up is difficult and often mimics the emotional process of grief. Though your partner is still alive, in many ways you are grieving the death of your relationship with them. Though it can feel counterintuitive and extremely draining at times, there are actually some major benefits that you can discover after your divorce. 

  1. You Can Focus on Your Personal Goals: Without a spouse whom you constantly have to consider when making major life decisions, you can begin to focus on your personal goals. If one of your goals is to go back to school and earn a degree, you can do it. If you want to start your mornings with meditation, nobody is stopping you. Being divorced means you are free to do whatever makes you happy.
  2. Shared Parenting Time Means More Free Time: One of the things that many divorced parents fear is not being able to take care of their children all of the time because of shared parenting schedules. While you will still miss your children while they are with their other parent, it also means there will be times when you will be child-free. You will not have to figure out who will babysit your kids if you want to go out with friends. You will not have to wake up early to get your children off to school. You can cherish the time you spend with your children, but you can also enjoy your days off.
  3. You Get to Rediscover Who You Truly Are: Many people cite their divorce as one of the best things that ever happened to them. One of the main reasons why people tend to be so happy after a divorce is because they get to reconnect with themselves. People who have been married, especially those in long-lasting marriages, can lose their identity sometimes. Rather than knowing who you are as an individual, you only know who you are as part of a couple. Divorce allows you to get back in touch with your individual self so you can be the best person you can be.

Contact a Markham, IL, Divorce Lawyer to Help Finalize Your Divorce

One of the ways you can make sure you are in a good place once your divorce is finished is by hiring a skilled Will County divorce attorney. At The Foray Firm, we understand how difficult a divorce can be for your entire family. We can help you settle any issue pertaining to your divorce, from property division to parenting time. Do not settle for less than what you deserve; call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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Joliet parenting time attorney

When you have children, one of the hardest aspects of life after a divorce is figuring out how to be a successful and effective co-parent. This can be especially difficult for couples who no longer get along with one another or who had a very contentious divorce. Though you may wish you were rid of your spouse, having children with them prevents that from being possible. It is your job to work together with your ex to make sure you can provide a secure and loving childhood for your kids. Co-parenting after your divorce is one of the toughest things you will learn to do, but it is also one of the most important. Here are a few tips to help increase your chances of co-parenting success:

  1. Put Your Feelings Aside: This is perhaps the most important tip of all. You and your spouse need to make sure you are putting your feelings to the side and focusing on the wellbeing and happiness of your children. Your children should be the most important part of your life, and ensuring their happiness is more important than the issues you have with your ex.
  2. Work on Communication With Your Ex: Though it may be tough, communication is key when it comes to co-parenting. You should be aiming for peaceful and purposeful communication between you and your ex, all for the benefit of your children. You should keep your ex in the loop when it comes to your child and you should make sure you are including them in any major decisions involving your child.
  3. Stay as Consistent as Possible: It is also important to keep a sense of consistency between the two households for the sake of your children. Obviously, not everything will be the same at both your and your ex’s homes, but general routines and rules should stay the same so your child has a sense of consistency and familiarity.
  4. Remind Your Children That You Love Them: This is also important because it is common for children to blame themselves for the divorce. You should reassure your children every now and then that both you and their other parent still love them very much and that your issues have nothing to do with them.

Hire a Compassionate Will County Family Law Attorney 

At The Foray Firm, we understand that it is often difficult for divorcing parents to transition to life as a single parent, while still taking into account the other parent. Our skilled Joliet family law lawyers can help you and your spouse have a solid and comprehensive parenting plan in place to help reduce any uncertainties after the divorce. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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