One of the biggest mistakes that parents make when they are going through a divorce is that they think that they can “win” custody of their children. Far too many parents think that custody is a game that they are playing. The thing is that it is not a game. When child custody turns into a game the only real loser are any children that are involved.
Why You Can’t “Win” Custody
When people are talking about divorce and child custody cases, they generally refer to issues with custody as winning or losing. The problem is that you cannot really win custody in any case. It seems that no one is able to realize that child custody is actually a very serious issue that is going to affect all involved for many years to come. You should be taking extra notes during this time as to how things are affecting the children involved. You will want to ensure that your children feel supported and that their opinions and thoughts matter as far as to where they are spending their time. If you see any type of negative impact on your child or their behaviors, then you will want to be sure that you take note and try to avoid the situations that are causing the children to act out.
Where the Internet Goes Wrong
A simple Google search will yield thousands of web pages that discuss how you can win your custody battle. Instead of looking at the situation as a battle that requires winning, you will find that things go much better when you take a new perspective. The goal should be how two parents are going to be able to work together to successfully raise the children in two homes. Doing this is something that is going to help you to ensure that you have their best interest in mind. No parent should ever set out with the goal of hurting the other parent by using the children.
What the Goals Should Be
Instead of worrying about winning and losing, there are some goals that you should have with the other parent of your children. Having these goals helps to set up a secure and stable environment for your children.
Creating a Successful Co-Parent Relationship
The first thing that you will want to do is work with your ex to create a relationship that is successful at co-parenting. There are so many ways in which you can co-parent successfully. One of these is that you will want to learn how to talk to one another in a way that is respectful but does not give any false intentions. Talking to one another in a toned down version of a business relationship is generally best.
Set Clear Boundaries
While it would be nice to have both parents with your child as much as possible, this can only be done when both parents have clearly moved on and want no further relationship with each other. If one parent would like to still be with the other parent, then it is going to be nearly impossible to do things together as a family unit. Instead have clear boundaries as to when things are appropriate and when they are not.
Work on Expectations and Punishments Together
It can be tempting when your child has gotten in trouble with the other parent to be the “cool” parent or the “nice” parent and to not force them to follow through with these punishments. While this might feel like a win for you when your child appears to want more time with you, it is actually a fail! Having the same expectations and punishments in place in both households helps your child to adjust more easily as they are traveling between the two homes.
Always Put Your Child First
While you might want to spend more time with your child, you should look at what is best for your child. If coming to your house on a school night is harmful or does not work out well for one reason or another, then maybe look at other times that could be more accommodating to your child and their schedule rather than being selfish with your own.
In conclusion, learn how to comfort your children through a divorce or custody battle. Not all divorces need to be nasty either. There are things you can do and consider to get a healthy divorce. You cannot “win” a custody battle, but you can “win” at successfully co-parenting your child together.