There are the Parenting Plans, which are tough enough to create and maintain, and there are the Parenting Relationships which are even more challenging to amicably develop. Why? Because the tone of the marriage, and subsequently the tone of the divorce, dictates the tone of the Parenting Relationship. This is why it’s so incredibly important to grieve before filing, and get to the point of forgiveness as soon as possible because the children will suffer as a result.
There’s no way the children won’t notice the acrimony of their parents once the parenting plan is in place. There’s a domino effect that results from the dynamic of the ex-spouses during the divorce as they engage in their roles of co-parents:
1. The children will be used as messengers between the parents. And those messages won’t be sweet and loving.
2. One parent will continuously disparage the other parent in front of the children for a variety of reasons from competitiveness, hatred, insecurity to outright vengeance.
3. One parent will change the co-parenting schedule unilaterally out of disrespect and disregard for the other parent.
4. The payor of child support will grumble about having to pay child support and question how the recipient parent is spending the money.
5. One parent may disregard special dietary provisions of a child just to make the other parent mad.
6. One parent may sign the children up for activities without discussing it with the other parent showing disregard for the other parent, and creating a continuous battle of wills that are on display for the children to watch.
7. One parent may let the children stay up late, not do homework in a timely manner, use video games in place of parent-child activities, and bring the child to school late.
The list is unending. The point is that to create and execute a constructive parenting plan means that the parenting relationship has to be constructive, too. There are Divorce Coaches, Therapists and Special Masters who focus on parenting plans and parenting relationships.
Once the divorce is final, the residual of the divorce takes center stage. The residual being the relationship of the co-parents as they try to raise healthy, happy children. Children can only be healthy and happy if their parents exhibit that behavior first.
Things will come up that may not have been projected or imagined when the divorce settlement agreement was being discussed. But if the relationship of the parents is good, and the focus is on how those unexpected situations will affect the children first, then the parenting relationship will serve to provide a cooperative discussion between the parents so that they can support the best interests of the child foremost.
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