Two celebrity couples. Two high profile divorces. Two lots of kids. That’s just about where the similarities end. As far as divorces go you couldn’t get two more different approaches to untying the knot with the Ballboyslims showing their US counterparts just how to do it amicably, putting the kids first.
In our experience separating parents worry most about the impact of the divorce on their children. It’s not surprising with so many damning headlines screaming the lasting damage divorce can do. But as Brangelina have yet to catch on to, there are ways to limit the impact of your divorce on the kids. Here are our top tips:
Commit to being amicable. What the Zoe Ball and Norman Cook have done really well (just as Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin did) is state their intention to be amicable. This is one of the most important things you can do. Setting a target makes things more likely to happen and keeps you focused on the future rather than dwelling on the past. Bringing baggage from the demise of the adult relationship into arrangements for the kids is toxic. Instead imagine what the kids need from both of you in the future. Then use the change in family circumstances to create different roles within the family and be very positive. Change doesn’t have to be bad – it can present new opportunities… but it requires you let go of the past.
Ballboyslims 1-0 Brangelina
Start as you mean to go on. The quickest way to a good co-parenting relationship is to start as you mean to go on. To get it right means understanding what problem you’re trying to solve when you divorce:
“What do our kids need to thrive and be happy in the future” or
“What does the law say I’m entitled to?” (be that custody or finances).
Divorces that start with what the kids need from you both have a much better chance of being amicable. If you’ve started the process already you’ll recognise that few lawyers start their meetings with the first of these questions…
Ballboyslims 2-0 Brangelina
Work on your co-parenting relationship. All relationships take work – especially co-parenting relationships. Research shows that the quality of the parent’s relationship post-divorce has a big impact on how well kids cope with separation. The better your co-parenting relationship the quicker your kids will bounce back in terms of child development milestones, emotional health and academic achievements. Being a co-parent is different to being a parent. Many of us went to parenting classes or researched parenting problems or bought the books. Co-parenting is something you can learn about and aren’t born ‘just knowing’. Sure you can muddle through – but in a relationship with so little give in it at the outset why would you? If you’re looking for a course on co-parenting, see www.kidscomefirst . The very best thing you can do is to acknowledge the importance of this relationship and commit to working on it.
Ballboyslims 3-0 Brangelina
Keep it personal – Yes you read it right! Whether you’re a celeb or a regular person, using lawyers to communicate on your behalf or involving friends and family in negotiations creates barriers. Long-term, outsourcing your communication is un-workable in everyday life and robs you of the opportunity of learning how to work together in your new role as co-parents. Don’t outsource your private life and communications – learning to do it yourself is what your kids need you to do. If you’re struggling, then get some therapy – it’s a whole lot cheaper than a divorce legal bill.
Ballboyslims 4-0 Brangelina
Few kids want their parents to divorce – but if they do, or when they do, kids always want their parents to do it amicably. Whose kids would you rather be right now?