If you’ve just gone through an acrimonious divorce, you may be experiencing a multitude of unpleasant feelings. You might be angry with your ex and exasperated at your joint custody arrangement—which not only takes you away from your kids three days a week, but also forces you to maintain some kind of civil relationship with a person you want nothing more to do with.
It feels like your world is falling apart, and now you have to play nice with the person who caused you a world of hurt. While this task may seem insurmountable, couples all across the country manage to achieve this every day—and you can too. Today we provide a few tips to making joint custody work for you:
- Respectful actions: You may not be able to control how you feel, but you can control how you behave. Never badmouth your ex in front of your kids, and show your ex respect when you’re together. Children absorb everything they see and hear, so let them make their own opinions about their parents.
- Healthy outlets: Divorce and partial custody can feel agonizing. It’s important not to internalize all of your negativity. Use your time apart from your kids to find healthy ways to vent your frustration. Confide in a close friend about what you’re going through. Have a good cry. Take part in high-energy sports or exercise classes to boost your endorphins and serotonin.
- Eye on the prize: All of the pain that comes with a joint custody arrangement is ultimately for your kids’ benefit. You want them to have a healthy relationship with both of their parents. When you’re feeling down, remind yourself who you’re doing this for.
Joint custody can be hard on parents. It’s critical to keep yourself in check and engage in self care to be able to effectively navigate through an uneasy transition.