Co-parenting, whether living together or apart, loving or hating one another, is always a challenge. Different people have different experiences, opinions and values which inevitably leads to differences in parenting. It would sometimes be so much easier to parent if I could make all the decisions myself but alas, it doesn’t work that way when both parents are a part of your child’s life.
I am very fortunate that my ex and I are often able to co-parent effectively when we need to. We recently had our skills tested when our son faced a minor medical scare. We needed to coordinate logistics, agree on methods of treatment and course of action. I am proud to say that once again, we came together and worked effectively in the best interest of our son. I have been asked how I am able to do this and the truth is, it can be broken down very pragmatically. From my experiences, here’s what I’ve learned and would like to share with you:
1. Treat Co-Parenting As A Business Relationship
How you personally feel about your ex should never spill into how you manage relations with him or her. If you don’t respect or like your employer, would your actions reveal this or would you simply grin and bear it? If you’re still employed, I would imagine that you would choose the latter. Govern your discussions with your ex in the same manner in which you would deal with a customer or employer that you don’t care for. Present your opinions calmly and rationally, provide evidence to support your opinions and listen to their responses in a calm and respectful way. This is not a personal relationship any longer so don’t treat it as one.
2. Stay Focused On Your Child
Keep your eye on the prize, which in this case is your child. Understand that while you may feel that your opinion is the only one that should matter, it simply isn’t. You need to see past your past with your ex and focus on what’s important; the here and now and your child. You need to strip away any feelings for your ex and hear what they’re saying. They want what’s best for your child too, and you need to understand that their methods may be different, but their objectives are likely the same. Focus on what’s best for your child by drowning out all the other “noise”.
3. Be Thankful
Be grateful that someone else loves your child as much as you do. There may be a lot of people who love your child deeply but nobody will share your feelings for your child as much as their other parent. I may not always agree with my ex’s methods and whether I like him or not is irrelevant. He and I were the only ones who were there to experience the miracle of our children’s birth. Over the years, we have been proud at the same moments, and we have been scared and worried at the same things. Regardless of where your journey has taken the two of you, be thankful that there’s someone else out there who loves your kid as much as you do.
Effective co-parenting is not always easy to achieve, but it’s always possible and very powerful. I hope that these tips can help you work towards the outcomes you wish to achieve.
The Divorce Angels