Following the divorce, every family will take on its own unique trajectory that is as individual as the people involved. Yet there are several common styles that the post-divorce family tends to take on. It would benefit parents to take a few moments to reflect on their own situation. The following examples of family types are meant to help you determine what trajectory your family is on, and help you decide whether or not this is the situation you want to be in, what you can do about it if it isn't, and what ideals you should strive for as you repair your lives.
Family type #1: The friendship-based family
The ideal divorce is one where the marriage ends but a positive family relationship remains. As discussed earlier, divorce shouldn't (and generally doesn't) mean the end of your relationship with your ex and the kids, just a change in the relationship. Divorce may end a marriage, but parents will always be tied together as family through the children.
You want to do everything possible to keep 'family' in tact even as parents go their own separate ways.
Keeping close, intimate attachments with both parents can make all the difference in the world in terms of whether your child emerges unscathed from this experience or is scarred with issues that they'll carry with them for life. Maintaining a sense of family and belonging is extremely important. The friendship-based family is a way to accomplish this.
In such an arrangement parents get divorced, but they maintain partners in the child's upbringing. They strive to be friends. They change from husband and wife to a type of family relationship that more resembles the connection that a brother and sister might have. They still like and respect the other parent, which helps them cooperate. They support each other, stick up for one another, and can still get together and do things jointly from time to time. When step-families enter the equation, they welcome these new members into the family just as a grandparent might welcome a new grandchild. They get to know each other and may participate in family excursions together. The degree to which these idea’s can be accomplished is of course dependant upon the participation of both parents, who need to first accomplish the following:
A) Resolve and set aside any hurt that is still there. Parents can't be bickering and fighting with each other and maintain a working relationship to raise the kids. It's important to leave any past hurts behind you.