When you decide to end your marriage, you might hope never to see your ex again. Though, logically, your divorce process will most likely include establishing a parenting time agreement if the two of you have children together.
You might believe you should have full custody of the kids because of your active role in their lives. Or perhaps you think this is your opportunity to connect with them on a deeper level.
Studies suggest that children are healthier and when they have continued relationships with both parents. Despite child-rearing disagreements, anger and unforgiveness, you might want to consider how detrimental trying to take your children away from their other parent could be.
Five statistical effects of raising children in a single-parent family
Society is beginning to recognize the importance each parent has in a child’s life. Specific circumstances may merit cutting off contact for a child’s safety, but in general, the absence of a parent can cause psychological harm, which often manifests in unhealthy ways.
Though the connection between being fatherless or growing up in a single-parent home may not be immediately apparent, children raised in those situations represent:
- 90% of runaway kids
- 85% of pregnant teens
- 75% of children in treatment for chemical abuse
- 70% of institutionalized juveniles
- 63% of teenage suicides
In addition to the emotional and challenges these kids face, the treatment and programs they require cost society an estimated $100 billion each year.
How can estranged parents both be active in their children’s lives?
Since continued relationships with you and your former partner are important for your children, you would be wise to determine how to co-parent. No matter how your marriage ended, hopefully you can agree to act in the best interest of your kids.
Going back and forth between homes might be stressful at first. However, after you establish your parenting time agreement:
- Maintain respectful communication
- Support your kids’ continued contact with your ex and their family members
- Provide consistent schedules, expectations and consequences
- Let your children bring comfort items to their other parent’s home
- Plan events around your scheduled times with your children
In the end, co-parenting might benefit you as well. Your children’s time with their other parent opens the door to a world of possibilities for you.
Whether that means focusing on your career, developing a new hobby or expanding your social life, you can work on you. As you heal and regain your happiness and inner peace, you can be more fully present during the time you share with your children.