My 5 Rules for Positive Co-Parenting #coparentingdoneright
I am a huge advocate for positive co-parenting. You see, I don’t think raising kids in separate households has to be dramatic. I was raised in a very dramatic situation, in my opinion, and I’ve seen how it impacted my younger sister and me later in our life. I never wished to have my kids deal with negative situations with their parents. I will say that I have two co-parents, my teenager’s father and I aren’t able to even parallel parent, never mind be on the same page but we did our best and now that child is almost 16 with a pretty positive outlook so I guess we did something decent with that scenario.
I watch many parents’ divorce or break up when kids are involved and it’s such a dramatic experience for everyone involved. The adults can’t seem to realize that they’ve broken up so their personal opinions on each other, or the pain that was inflicted no longer matters. Of course, I’m not talking about situations where there was legit abuse, I’m talking about a break up due to non-abusive scenarios. I get that every story is different, but when the break up has happened, you have kids left to be taken care of. No matter how angry you are with the other parent or how much you think they suck as a parent, you have to let go and have faith that they’ll do their best to help raise your kids with you as a co-parent.
I am blessed with my younger two sons as their father and I were married, then divorced but never had any craziness between us. We have always put our duty as parents to our boys first and never let drama or stupid crap get in the middle of our ability to raise our boys. We have gone to counseling together to help raise our first son, who eventually was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism. We discuss how to handle our younger son because he’s a wild child. We come to an agreement on how to handle it and we try our best to respect each other during the process. It’s that simple. We communicate, we figure it out and I’ve grown in a way that allows me to let go of my strict beliefs in some areas so that we can raise our boys to be boys and yes, sometimes that means I have to just accept that “Dad” understands boys better than me.
Suck it up and Parent Those Kids … Together
When you make a decision to break up with someone who you have a kid or two with, it’s time to suck it up and find a way to co-parent in your new circumstances. It’s important that the kids learn how family works in this way, just as you would teach them living under the same roof. Recently I had to make a decision, it was a hard decision and it involved me letting go of having my kids with me in the same household for a bit. It broke my heart, to be honest, but if I think about it, I’d been saying for months that I needed a break from being a mom after having dealt with a traumatic relationship situation. I couldn’t heal myself from that when being pulled in three different directions for my Mama Duties. In a way, me leaning on my co-parent to raise our boys under his roof while I work to find a home for us was a good decision for all of us.
Thank God for Family
My ex-husband works second shift, yet he goes home to do the bedtime routine with the boys and gets up early to take them to school. His mom helps during the other hours of the day to make sure our boys are eating, doing chores and being good. I have after-school duty, so I get to pick our boys up after-school every day during the school season. We have no idea what we’re doing, as this is a pretty unconventional set up, but we’re making the best of a bad situation that put us here. The boys seem happy, and they give me longer, tighter hugs when I see them. Perhaps, our co-parenting in a positive way and letting the boys spend some time staying with their Dad will get them to appreciate all that I really do for them and thus, allow us to miss each other a bit for once. So how did we get to be able to co-parent in such a positive way?
My 5 Rules to Positive Co-Parenting
Put the job of raising kids first and foremost. Dating, relationships and other people who come into the situation are there to be an extra support system, not to take away your parental place in the kids’ life.
Learn to let go of controlling every situation. Even though you now reside in two separate homes, both of you have a right to those kids. Always remember the co-parent matters too.
Listen a lot. This one is difficult for many co-parents, because we get defensive about our kids naturally, even with their other parent. Learn to listen and not get defensive, the co-parent loves your kids too.
Find a middle ground to work together. No matter what your personal circumstances were that separated you from living together, you have to find a way to work together to raise these kids.
Treat co-parenting like a business relationship. Don’t let emotions cloud the judgment and words you say when co-parenting. Learn to treat this relationship just like you would a job or business.
Co-parenting is something many families are doing now, it seems more and more parents reside in separate homes. This doesn’t mean that the kids have to feel torn to pick sides or watch their parents be dramatic about every decision. Kids are our future and if more co-parents can learn to follow my five rules to positive co-parenting, then I think the world would be a happier place where kids see that their parents are responsible, mature adults who always love them regardless of no longer living with their other parent.