The new year is just around the corner and what better way to start than to make a list of resolutions that will help you prepare for the year ahead. While you can think about your resolutions for yourself, it is also worthwhile to reflect on your relationships with your ex-spouse and with your family.
Co-parenting is not an easy job whether you are with your current partner, have a new partner, or have to raise your kids with an ex-spouse. In any situation, co-parenting calls for people working together to ensure that children receive the attention that they deserve. There are bound to be disagreements along the way, so the new year is a perfect opportunity for you to make a new year’s resolution as a co-parent.
Thinking Outside of Yourself
The first thing to a co-parenting resolution is not to think about yourself but your children. You probably think as a parent that that is what exactly you have been doing. However, if you think about it from the child’s perspective, he or she might disagree with you. Often times, when two adults talk to each other about their kids, they tend to put in their opinions about what is right or wrong for their child, without considering how it will appear from the child’s perspective.
For instance, when two parents live separately, the child has to deal with moving from one house to the next, they have the chance of getting more confused and less grounded along the way. Think about this, if you were that child and your parents simply find it convenient to live their own lives while you have to constantly adjust to varying arrangements, how will that make you feel? As a co-parent, it is important to make arrangements that are child-centered because it will give way to a smoother transition and will help you communicate to your child how important he or she is to you.
When You Have to Push Back
Disagreements will arise, and may lead to fights with your co-parent. There are resolutions that you can create to make those fights more bearable and less traumatic for your children. It is important to make conscious efforts and do your best to avoid any forms of aggression and disrespect.
It certainly is not a good idea to force a co-parent to agree with you on something, or throw sarcastic remarks and insults towards the other – no matter how badly you feel the need to. More so, any show of violence, real or thrown as a threat, will only ignite more aggression on the other end. It is in these times that it is important to step back, and remember how your child might see this situation and be affected by it.
When children hear and witness such a heated battle, they tend to blame themselves and feel that they are responsible for causing the conflict even when they are still young. As a consequence, it is no use putting them in the middle of the conflict even if you subconsciously seek their allegiance.
In cases where the issue pertains to the children themselves, keep them out of earshot at all costs. As children, they are still at that stage in their life when they cannot understand how adults behave and you do not want as co-parents to get misinterpreted. You must also remember that your children learn from your actions, so working through disagreements in a healthy manner with your ex-spouse also sets a positive, healthy example for how your child can work through conflicts in their own lives.
Meeting In The Middle
More often than not, meeting halfway with your co-parent provides a more viable solution to any kind of conflict. Making difficult but highly beneficial compromises help maintain the respect that you have for each other without sacrificing your own values and belief system. Insisting too much on what you want without considering the view point of the other person will only lead to more conflicts.
Unless you plan to stay in conflict with a co-parent, check your ego at the door and take the time to understand each others’ unique circumstances and meet in the middle. You will notice that when you impart understanding to the other person, he or she will be more encouraged to agree with you and even give up whatever his or her previous plans were. Meet your co-parent halfway, be happy about the decision, and do not resent having done so. This can be easier said than done, but is an important piece of co-parenting that deserves to be noted.
End The Blaming Cycle
There is one thing that human beings love to do to each other and that is pointing a finger at the other person and blaming him or her for anything and everything bad that happens. As the new year unfolds, you can decide as a co-parent to end this vicious cycle.
It is time to take responsibility for your own actions and focus on how you can successfully help your children to grow under your love and guidance. Telling a co-parent what he or she “should” do is tantamount to telling him or her not to do it at all. Nobody likes to be ordered around – and that includes you. Instead of putting the blame on somebody else for a mishap, analyze the situation as a co-parenting team as to where you failed and how you can remedy the problem together. In fact, make room for each other’s mistakes and be ready to accept sincere apologies while your co-parent is working on making himself or herself better for your children. Your co-parent may not always be ready or interested in the same behavior as you, but you can make it your resolution to take the high road, and set a positive example for your children.
It’s All About What Works
Being successful at co-parenting requires focus on what works more than what doesn’t. This is because positive affirmation creates a domino effect of good vibes that makes you look forward to the next string of success.
It is important to discuss with your co-parent about how failures have come about, and how they can be prevented moving forward. One key to this is to also acknowledge how your co-parent has been successful, and to give credit where credit is due. Resolve to do this as often as you can until it becomes a habit of affirming each other for the good that you have achieved as a team.
Needless to say, this new year’s resolutions can only be turned into a reality if you work together hand in hand for the sake of your children.
Working through a co-parenting situation isn’t always easy, but at Seff & Capizzi we are prepared to help you through the process. We regularly assist clients with their divorce cases and provide valuable information for those that need assistance in understanding how to approach this situation in their own lives.
If you need assistance with your divorce or in your co-parenting arrangement, please call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. Click here for more information about our family law practice and how Seff & Capizzi can help.