First off let me start by saying that I have been watching some really crappy parenting lately.. so if curse words offend you. Stop reading
What is co-parenting? It’s described as a parenting situation where parents are not in a marriage, cohabitation or romantic relationship with one another. It seems that almost everyone that I talk to has some issue with their ex and almost always the children are used as pawns in there web of games. The important thing to remember is that the children are innocent and that co-parenting means to also set aside whatever issues you have with the other parent and make decisions based on the child’s best interest. Tho that may not to be easy at times it is most definitely worth it.
As for myself personally, I have a daughter with a guy I dated for 4 ish years and he and I did not always see eye to eye. There were times that while he was going thru personal struggles, it affected myself and our daughter tremendously. So much so that we packed our bags and moved states away. It was then that he and I both knew things had to change. Not only for us, but for our daughter. As time went by he faced many obstacles to get where he needed to be and one was that he had to fix himself before he could help with the responsibilities of our child. That meant that there were going to be times that he would not see her for some period and I was not happy about it. Words were said that shouldn’t have, anger was built up and it was not healthy. After he was able to get past his issues and I was able to finally see what he meant and why things happened the way they did, “Billy” and I were finally at at place where he and I could parent together but apart. Since then he and I are not only awesome parents together, we are also friends. We share placement of our daughter, noone pays child support, we don’t fight over holidays, we don’t bitch if the other has things to do and we end up keeping our daughter a extra day or two.. we just.. well we just parent. Together. Tho this instance may be rare, it can happen. You just have to allow yourself to do it. Think of your children. Not only that, it’s less stressful! Who wants or needs stress anyway. Why not make the best of a situation and have everyone involved happy!
Here’s a few tips on having a successful co-parenting operation:
Don’t vent to your kids about grown up stuff. Children were not brought into this world to hear how dad had an affair or mom cares more about clubbing than her kids. If you’re pissed off call your best friend or a family member or seek counseling. Don’t tell your 5 year old that mom sucks dick for coke.. they can hardly carry their back packs let alone all your extra baggage from your divorce/breakup. Don’t talk shit about the other parent. Have some class. Remember your children learn from you. They were brought into this world to feel love and give it. Show them exactly how to do that by not showing hatred. Your child has the right to their own opinion of their mother or father.
Don’t send your kids off to ask mom or dad questions. First of all we are not stupid. As if my daughter is really going to ask me if so and so slept over. Seriously. They are not your messengers. Doing such acts puts your kids right in the middle of conflict. The goal here is to keep the child far away from any parental drama.
Don’t ask or tell your child to chose sides. Children don’t need that kind of pressure. Obviously children would prefer that they have both parents but unfortunately for them sometimes that isn’t the case. In the end children will resent the parent who talks the most shit about the other parent.
As far as communication for parents.. here’s some pointers for a successful co-parenting relationship:
Try to aim for consistency. If your child gets grounded by moms and the child is to return to dads, the child should remain grounded. Apply the same rules at both homes. Or at least try to. Use same bed times, same discipline, manners etc. Some children seem to think that once they go by the other parent they are home free. Don’t let them. Stay consistent as parents.
Keep each other updated on important issues. If your child has a doctors appointment let the other parent know. Give them the opportunity to either go with to said appointment or maybe even do the bringing. Same applies for school functions. You don’t want to miss out on plays or concerts if you don’t have to. Children like to see their mom or dad in the crowds. It let’s them know that they care to see their accomplishments.
Respect one another. There’s nothing worse than being an asshole. Be nice. After all you made these kids together.
Compromise. Don’t take advantage of each other. If you know the other parent wants to go to a concert or on a date, help with the children. You’ll see that when it comes time to have your own event to attend that mutual respect will come back to you.
It may help to just think of this relationship as a new one. Forget about “what happened” and focus on what really happened. You had a child. Love and respect your children by having a mature adult relationship with their mother or father.