By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Co-parenting your children after divorce should never be a competition between parents. It’s not a game and there should be no winners, except for the kids! Nor should there be any losers, because that’s a loss for the kids, as well.
Co-parenting is all about mind-set. How you approach it. What your goals are … and how you play day by day.
Competition creates toxic parenting
Competing co-parents put their children in an awkward situation. Kids are cajoled, manipulated or even bullied into feeling they have to choose sides. It’s hurtful, damaging and insensitive to subject them to that emotional turmoil, even when subtle.
Steer clear of the “good parent/bad parent” mentality. You’re both in this together – for your lifetime! Think CO-PARENTS in the most positive possible way.
Co-parent to fit your unique family
Co-parenting can be enormously challenging. There are no rules for how your co-parenting agreement should work. It depends on your unique family dynamics. Lawyers and mediators may suggest a plan that fits your family. But you need to commit to what works best for your schedules, your tine frames, your priorities and your kids.
Many co-parenting plans follow a strict regimen of days or weeks with each parent. For the most part, children do best with structure and routine. But for some families flexibility may be more welcome and useful.
It certainly was In my own case. Every Sunday my co-parent and I picked up the phone to discuss our work schedules and plans for the coming week. I often had meetings and events some days or evenings every week. So we’d work around my more complex flexible coparschedule. Two days on, one day off, two days off, three days on. Saturday night off for him, next Saturday night off for me.
Things changed from week to week. But one thing never changed: whether my son got off the school bus at my stop or dad’s stop, we were there for him as parents always. It took more attention for us all, but it worked. Because we made it work! And we remained a family because we both loved our son!
What’s the lesson here? Be accommodating with your co-parent. Be flexible. Do favors for one another. Have each other’s back. Take turns getting your way! You’re not doing this for your ex. It’s always for the kids!
When both parents are parenting effectively, your kids are the winners! Isn’t that a goal worth attaining?
Success strategies that work!
Here are some suggestions on how to ease the way into greater co-parenting success:
- Learn how to diffuse conflict through your language, communication skills and voice tone.
- Seek out win-win compromises or solutions, even if unorthodox.
- Talk to your kids about what matters to them, how they feel, what they want from you.
- Agree to disagree and move on at times.
- Reach out for Divorce Coach support.
- Put your kids’ gratification ahead of your ego gratification.
- Make long-term co-parenting success more important than winning short-term battles that will be meaningless in a few weeks or months.
- Use an online coparenting schedule tool to reduce conflict, such as 2houses.com.
No one ever said co-parenting will be easy. But it’s a challenge worth stepping up for. Because your kids will be affected by every decision, action and conflict you, as co-parents, create.
Believe me, those same kids will hold you responsible when they grow up and ask you, “Why did you do that? What were you thinking?”
Don’t they deserve better than that?
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of numerous books, e-courses and programs on divorcing with children and co-parenting successfully. For instant download of her FREE EBOOK on Doing Co-Parenting Right: Success Strategies For Avoiding Painful Mistakes! go to: childcentereddivorce.com/book
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© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.