So how do you co-parent with a person that you secretly wish would get hit by a bus? I legit asked myself this question three years ago. I was sitting in my car ,waiting for my ex-husband to bring my daughter back to our pick up/drop off spot, and I was disgusted that I still had to interact, and speak to the one person, who I felt had hurt me the most. This type of thinking unfortunately, is the number one reason why most people find it difficult to co-parent. So how did I move past my feelings, and master co-parenting? It’s simple, I killed him. Problem solved. But no, for real, he’s still alive, and I just had to learn that personal feelings are irrelevant when it comes to co-parenting! It’s not about you or the other parent, it’s about your child. How you feel about a person personally, has nothing to do with their ability to parent. So how do we make this thing work? Here are a few suggestions I had to take to get you to the Promised Land
Mind Your Business
These three words will keep you drama free, and also aide in the healing you need to complete in order to effectively co-parent. Before you ask the other parent anything, first ask yourself: Is this going to hurt my child? Does my child benefit from this? What does this have to do with me? It can become very difficult when the other parent begins to date. Do not put out a BOLO (Be on the Lookout) amongst your girlfriends/guy friends to seek out this new person on social media. Mind your business. Until your child comes to you with a concern, it’s not worth the drama, and tension it will cause between the two of you. It will only delay your personal healing, and grow bitterness. Keep all concerns strictly about the child’s welfare. Terrance going out on a date Friday night has absolutely nothing to do with his visitation next Saturday. Stop it!
You cannot communicate the same way you did while you were in a relationship with the other parent. Change the way you communicate! I put on my best “office voice” when speaking to my daughter’s father. This has always helped me to keep my tone in check, which will keep arguments to a minimum. Being as professional as you can, will set the tone of the relationship, and delete those gushy feelings you, or the other parent may still be harboring. In the beginning of our break-up, it was easier to send text messages than to call. If you choose to communicate via text, be careful to make text messages clear, and direct to avoid misinterpretation. DO not use emoji’s. Remember, you are trying to establish a professional relationship, and should speak to each other as you would your supervisor, or co-worker.
Communicate boundaries, and establish times and dates for visits. All major decisions such as healthcare, education, and trips out of the country, should be communicated before made. The Dynamics of the relationship can become even more challenging when the other parent wants to include their significant other. Whenever a parent communicates they are in a new relationship, communicate how that person will interact with your child. and it may require everyone sitting down and meeting. If you are unable to amicably adhere to these terms, it may be best to seek legal mediation to establish a parenting plan.
Put some RESPECK on each other’s names. When with your child, never talk negatively about the other parent. It’s inappropriate, and can cause your child to be confused about how they should feel towards that parent. You can also destroy a child’s esteem towards their parent, which can affect their own self esteem.Although I may feel my ex-husband is a slimy toad, he will always be the prince in shining armor to my daughter. Make it a point to paint a positive image of the other parent to your child.
Respect each other’s decisions. I do not allow for my daughter to eat anything after 8:00 p.m., I communicated this to her father, so that when she is at his home, he is implementing the same rule. This builds up trust between parents, and allows for them to function as a team in regards to the child.
Respect the fact that each of you love your child, and are committed to making sure they become the best human being they can be, despite the unforeseen circumstances and choices made by their parents. Respect each other for your children. Believe it or not, by doing so shows your child how much you actually love them.
There is so much to gain from just giving a situation time. Time for what? Time to heal, to move on, and to evolve. Give yourself time to adjust to this new relationship of co-parenting. There will be moments that will exhaust and frustrate you, and it may be because, deep down inside you still care for that person. We are all human, and you can’t magically make feelings go away, but you can learn to control them over time. It’s also important to remember that you can never recoup time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Don’t steal time away from your children being with the other parent. This time is where they can make memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.
This realization is what helped me during the times that I didn’t want to share my daughter during certain holidays, and festivities. I had to remember that he was her father, and loved her just as much as I did. How dare I rob her of quality time with her dad? Time that will help to develop her confidence, and cultivate how she will interact with men as she grows older. Co-parenting is something that took time to master, and it’s didn’t happen overnight. My ex-husband and I have a mutual respect for each other as parents, and are able to co-exists, and come together for the betterment of our daughter.
Feelings come and go, and how you feel today, will not be how you feel years from now. Focus on the bigger picture, and focus on the success of your children. In an effort to punish the other parent due to how YOU feel, really only hurts the child.Remember, as parents we each play a different role in our children’s lives. Let the other parent star in their role, in the most important production, your child’s life.