Communication is always important. Joint custody communication refers to the communication with your ex-partner, your children, your parents, your friends, people at your children's school, your brothers and sisters, your neighbours and many more. The most important are the children and your ex.
The relationship between you and your ex can be relatively easy or extremely difficult. I some occasions there is still love towards the other or towards each other. In other occasions, something is really broken, trust has disappeared and you and your ex are extremely emotional. Divorce however, is traumatic for most children. Focus on them instead of on your broken relationship.
In fact, after the decision to divorce, you have to build an entirely new relationship with your ex that is exclusively based on the subject of the parenting of your children. Avoid talking about the past and do not go into the details of your life after the divorce. This way, you will not enter into painful situations and you avoid getting emotional about the divorce and about all the bad things your ex has done to you in the past. It does also prevent fightings with your ex partner. Focus your energy on the things that help you and your children moving forward in a positive direction.
For joint custody and sucessful parenting a positive relationship with your ex spouse is essential.
In parallel parenting, both exes have their own rules for educating the children and the parents have as little contact as possible.
On the long run, being open and honest to your children works out the best. Do not blame your ex-partner, at least not when the children can hear you. Do not cheat and keep your promises. Also be respectful to the house rules introduced by your ex partner. Also if you disagree. Depending on the age of your children, you can explain your concerns.
Before the divorce, your children probably tried to play you against your partner in some situations. During or after the divorce, they might try to use this trick a little more often. If possible, try to anticipate or avoid these situations through frequent joint custody communication with your ex.
Valuable reading is the excellent guidebook: How do I tell the kids about the divorce?.
Be careful to talk about the divorce with the friends of your children. Of course you can say that you divorced, but do not go into details. Let them know that you and your children will go through an emotionaly difficult period but that these emotions will go away after a while. That is a natural process. Tell them that it is not the end of the world and that you (and your ex) will take good care of the children after the divorce. You can even tell them about the upcoming changes. You can ask them to be understanding and to support you and your children.
Your parents - your children's grant parents - play an important role in the lives of your children. Keep them well informed about what is going on, about the problems, anger and frustrations your children deal with because of the divorce. They can be a big support for your children and for you.
The parents of your ex partner are the other grand parents of your children. They will probably want to keep seeing your children after the divorce too. Best practice is to keep a distance from them during the first few months after the divorce. Do not involve them in your new life for the time being. When you met, limit the communication to the children. Avoid talking about the divorce and about what went wrong, because most of the time their is an explicit or implicit question of guilt and blame. This will build a relationship of trust and integrety. Over time, you can become friends with the parents of your ex partner of course and communicate about whatever subject.
Tell them how it is. Tell them your frustrations, talk about your emotions and listen to their advice. However, do not overdo it. If you keep on talking about the divorce all the time and every time they see you, they will walk away from you. That is not what you need. Right after a divorce, you will need your friends to support you. If they ask how they can help you, take their offers. But be very explicit in how they can help you: with the practical things like picking up the children from school or taking care of your kids for a few hours when you need to do something else without the children.
Inform the school as soon as possible, so they can pay some extra attention to your children during these difficult times. They will understand. Your children will not be the only ones. You might even ask about support groups for your children or for yourself to attend.
For communication to your brothers and sisters, the same applies as for your friends
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