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Co-parenting strategies for divorced New York parents

The last thing on a former spouse's mind may be how to improve relations with an ex. The attitude is understandable for New York ex-partners who have been through the emotional wringer after support or child custody battles.

Anger or hurt is harmful for an ex-spouse who holds on to bad feelings indefinitely. Children - the subjects of custody disputes and witnesses to their parents' condition - are also susceptible to psychological pain.

Therapy is one answer to the emotional spillover caused by divorce. Practical ways also exist for divorced parents to help themselves and their children adjust to the enormous change in family. As hard as it may seem, cooperative parenting reduces stress for all parties.

Coordinated duties and reliable communications between ex-spouses are imperative for co-parenting. Children of divorce are frequently raised in dual households with complex schedules that mesh with separated parents' lifestyles.

A late appearance for visitation or an argument over a weekend custody arrangement can set off sparks if not full-blown fireworks between divorced adults. Pre-planning and agreements take conflict out of childcare responsibilities.

Working through school, activity and home schedules keeps both parents aware and informed. Straightforward communications eliminate misunderstandings and chaos. Counselors also urge ongoing shared discussions about behavioral limitations and child discipline.

Advisers suggest drawing a clear line between adult issues and children. Children don't want to hear. and can't process, critical comments made by one parent about another.

Children take cues from parents who show respect, listen and compromise. Divorced parents often forget that children want strong relationships with both parents. It's up to parents to provide that strength through a joint commitment to the children's best interests.

An attorney helps spouses deal with divorce pragmatically. A spouse with emotional difficulties also may want to consider employing a mental health professional for themselves or their children when emotional reactions to divorce become too difficult to control.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Parenting After Divorce: 10 Ways To Make Your Custody Arrangement Less Stressful For Your Kids," Jan. 25, 2013

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