Jun 05 2023
Co-parenting is a difficult task. After a breakup or divorce, parents’ emotions may run high, making it difficult for them to work together for their children’s sake. You may expect to err. All of us do. Real maturity consists of admitting guilt and making atonement when wrongdoing has been done. This will not only set a good example for your children to follow when they encounter challenges in life, but it will also demonstrate your commitment to being the best parent you can be.
We recently encountered a mother who, to facilitate her ex-husband’s increased contact with the children, was planning to allow him to see the children in her home. They used to live in this home together. She often returned home to discover him occupying her bed with the kids. Despite her best efforts to explain to him otherwise, he refused to stop violating the limit she had set and refused to accept that the room was no longer his. His spare time with his family suddenly evaporated. Although this seems like an extreme example, the same thing might happen if you don’t pay attention to limits.
Divorce may make it difficult to set your wants and feelings aside and concentrate on your children’s best interests while co-parenting. You’ll inevitably lose your cool as a co-parent. Your co-parent, second only to your kids, is an expert at getting under your skin. Their words and actions may sometimes provoke you, causing you to lose perspective and control over your actions and emotions. It may be your fault occasionally, or it may be theirs.
It requires self-control to avoid falling into this trap. Some states calculate child support based on how often each parent sees their kid. Although there are positive outcomes to this strategy, it teaches parents to combine child care with financial concerns. When disputes include both finances and parenting time, finding a solution might seem like going through the divorce process all over again.
Don’t be afraid to admit it when you’re wrong. If one parent is in the wrong and the other does not accept an apology, that parent should nonetheless make one. As a bonus, you’ll be setting a good example for your kids about how to handle disagreement and the value of being able to acknowledge when you’re wrong. An additional benefit is that you and your co-parent may begin to establish communication channels and provide an example of cooperative parenting.
Emotions might run high after a divorce or separation. Even the most caring parent may unintentionally use their kid to get revenge on their ex. Some parents may flout the rules or go beyond presents to seem more “fun” than their counterparts. Staying up late for ice cream or a trip to the toy shop are two simple ways that parents may make their kids happy. Refusing to make adjustments to the parenting plan when they are asked is another frequent error. It’s common for parents to defend their kids’ “unreasonable” demands or to gripe about not being given enough warning. It’s easy to slip into the trap of playing “gotcha” with other parents, and it may be difficult to detect this behavior in yourself.
Divorced parents often make the mistake of continuing to talk about their children with one another. You may wish to avoid your ex as much as possible once the divorce or separation is completed. However, you and your child’s other parent will still be working together for some time. It’s tempting to use your kid as a messenger between you and the other parent when you’re running late for the pick-up or just want to get something off your chest. But by doing so, you are expecting your kid to be emotionally mature enough to handle the other parent’s reaction. In addition to demonstrating your continued disagreement, this will leave your youngster feeling torn. Another pitfall is pressuring a youngster to take a stance on contentious issues like who to spend the holidays with or who to see in the event of a scheduling problem. If you give your kids a say in major life choices, you may feel like you’re being fair, but in reality, you’re placing a lot of pressure on them.
Identifying your triggers is an important first step. Do you hate it when pick-ups are late? Is the lack of discipline in the other parent’s home a source of anger for you? Tired of constantly replacing misplaced clothing and accessories? Frustrated by the constant eye roll? Once you’ve identified your triggers, you’ll be better able to exercise self-awareness and control over your reaction to stressful situations.
Once you and your partner have settled on a set of ground rules, you may discuss how to proceed if one parent violates them. Essentially, you’ll want to make it clear that you’ll each be allowed to hold the other parent to the terms of the agreement and to name names if one of you breaks them. You may come to an understanding along the lines of “Let’s try to keep within our ground rules.” If one parent gets too agitated, having a backup plan is important. Maybe you may agree that it would be better to take a break from the conversation and resume it when everyone’s emotions are more stable. It’s important to prepare for the inevitable unpleasant days since we all experience them.
Make sure your apologies come from a place of genuine regret and contrition when you’ve done wrong. To go from an aggressive co-parenting relationship to one that is more businesslike and courteous, an apology may work wonders.
Divorce and separation may be difficult for both parents. There will be occasions when you lose control of your emotions, namely your rage. Remember your promise to your kids, own up to your faults, and do everything you can to put them first while still growing as a parent despite the setback.
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