Successful Parenting Following a Divorce

Successful Parenting Following a Divorce

Shadow silhouette of parents holding their child's handsParenting after a divorce is emotionally intense and often feels like navigating through landmines. While it’s complicated, learning to co-parent is essential for your child’s wellbeing.

It’s important for you and your ex-spouse to remember that you’re still in a partnership – you’re partners in the business of raising healthy, well-adjusted children. This means you need to treat one another with the same dignity and respect you’d extend to a business partner. Business partners schedule meetings when there’s a problem to be solved, and this works well for co-parenting.

Tips for Peaceful and Successful Parenting Following a Divorce

Pick a neutral place to meet without the children.

A coffee shop or park setting works well. Make every effort to leave the kids behind if possible – they will feel “caught in the middle” if they have to tag along, so try to conduct these meetings without them.

Aim to make your meeting last no longer than 30 minutes.

Keeping things brief will help maintain an efficient, businesslike atmosphere.

Remember, the only topic of conversation is the children.

Resist the urge to vent anger, assign blame or demand things go your way. Keep the conversation on track and remember that successful problem solving calls for a focus on what matters most – what’s best for the kids.

Prepare ahead of time.

Come to the meeting having thought through what you’d like to see happen and what you would be willing to do to help make it happen. Thinking matters through ahead of time will help you come prepared to negotiate a win-win solution.

When you and your ex-spouse approach post-divorce parenting matters like a professional business relationship, you can become good partners in the business of raising the children you both love.


Jean Holthaus, LISW is a Licensed Independent Social Worker and clinic manager at the Pine Rest Pella Clinic. She earned a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Iowa in 1995.

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