Co-Parenting is Tough Stuff

parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized, Your Ex

If you’re a single parent, whether divorced or never married, you will find yourself dealing with a myriad of issues that weren’t part of your dream of having children.

On top of implementing new routines and schedules to fit your new family dynamics, you still have to go to work everyday, get the kids to/from school, and handle running the household without assistance from your former partner.

In addition to all those daily changes, you are also dealing with other issues like paternity tests, divorce paperwork, child support, visitation schedules, missed visit disappointment, along with issues that either of you finding new partners brings for everyone. The list seems to go on forever.

As soon as you feel you may have resolved or conquered one issue, the next one rears its ugly head and the roller coaster begins again. But for the sake of your children and their emotional well-being, life must go on. And it is ultimately up to the adults to make sure that happens when there are minor children involved.

Children from single parent families need reassurance that things will be okay and they need some kind of stability above all else to heal. So how do you achieve stability for your child in a way that acknowledges and sustains the bond children should have with both of their parents and doesn’t compromise your dignity?

Co-parenting is made more difficult if you are dealing with a former spouse or partner who isn’t willing/able to remain in their child’s life on a daily or at least a regular basis. Trying to co-parent effectively can be fraught with emotional wounds between the parents that still need to heal. So how do you make sure that the emotional wounds or possibly unpredictable actions of the other parent don’t interfere with what’s best for your children?

Control, Communication, and Compromise are the three C’s that will help you get through whatever issues you have to deal with from the point of your single status forward. Control your emotions, communicate the needs of your children, and compromise with the other parent to make sure their needs are met.

It’s a tough journey, it takes maturity, and it requires the ability to put your pride and ego in the backseat. You must do your best to give respect while requiring it from the other parent as well. You won’t always do it perfectly and there will be times when your resentment and anger get the best of you.

How do reassure your children that things will be okay when you really aren’t even sure yourself what’s ahead of you?

Have confidence in your ability to provide a life for your children no matter what happens. If you commit to doing whatever it takes to make sure that things are “okay”, then you can confidently project that aura to your children. It’s okay for them to see you frustrated, angry, confused, or sad. The key is to make sure that you role model for your children the appropriate way to deal with and resolve those feelings.

Just as children are different from one another, relationships between parents who have separated, can really vary. What might be an issue for you and your former partner could be a total non-issue for another divorcing couple. While there could be no one set of instructions as to how to co-parent perfectly with your former spouse or partner, there are some basic rules to follow.

  • Do not bash your child’s other parent. It’s okay to vent your feelings of frustration or anger to another adult. It’s especially crucial to avoid doing this in front of the children.
  • It becomes very important to separate your emotions and relationship with your former partner from the relationship between the children and their other parent. You may need to seek therapy or counseling to identify and separate these emotions and issues so you can make decisions solely based on what’s best for your child’s needs at the time.
  • Although it’s natural to want to shield your child from disappointments and you want to avoid speaking negatively about your ex, sometimes it’s better to just give honest answers (without blaming the other parent) so children can begin to accept what’s happening and start the healing process also.

Here’s a great co-parenting guide with some more helpful information>>>>https://www.custodyxchange.com/guides/co-parenting/

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Say What You Mean and Do What You Say

parenting, postaday2011, Relationships

Trust is one of those things that takes a very long time to build and yet can be wiped out in an instant.   In some relationships, trust is eroded gradually but other times, a major act of betrayal or dishonesty can virtually destroy trust overnight causing sometimes irreparable damage.

Trust is important in every relationship we are involved in including personal relationships with family, friends, children or spouses as well as professional relationships with clients, professors, colleagues, partners and employers.

One way to strengthen and rebuild trust in any relationship is to practice being consistent and honest.  Think carefully before you promise something so that you can say what you mean and then do what you say.  This practice is a good one to implement for both personal and business relationships.  Little things can often build trust, for instance if you say you’ll take the garbage out in the morning, make sure you do it.  If you tell your child you will be there for their birthday, make sure you’re there.  This is especially important for parents because a child’s ability to trust is being developed by how trustworthy they view the adults in their life.

Trust plays an important role in work teams also because if you say you’ll be at a meeting, your employer counts on you to be there.  When you tell co-workers or group members you’ll finish a portion of a project, make sure it gets done or at least you give them a heads up if it won’t be ready on time.  Your reputation is on the line every time you swear by a product because a client or customer trusts you to help them make an informed decision.

Big things like infidelity, lying, dishonesty or theft can destroy trust virtually overnight but often it’s the little things we do everyday that can quietly eat away at the trust in a relationship unnoticed until there is nothing left.

Be mindful of how trustful you are to the people who are important in your life.  Are you giving them reasons to trust you more?  Or less?  Make sure your daily behaviors are in line with your promises and you’ll reap the rewards of developing trusting relationships.

If I Had A Magic Tree…

Just for Fun, postaday2011, Relationships, Uncategorized

Tonight’s post of the day 2011 will be short and sweet.  If I had a magic tree, it would grow “time”.  The reason I decided that this is what I would want my magic tree to grow is that I have discovered that there are so many amazing things that can be done in this world, there just seems not enough time to do them all.

I also would love to have an ample supply of time that I could pick as I need it so that I could spend more time with my children and my grandchildren who even though they occasionally bring some headaches, truly bring me so much joy every day.

So there you have it, get in line for the magic tree in my backyard will soon be sprouting leaves of time.

The Town I Grew Up In

parenting, postaday2011, Relationships

As I think back on the town I grew up in, I realize that it was, at least to my childhood memory, just about perfect.

We lived in a three bedroom mobile home trailer which inside was a rather tight space for our family however the trailer was on its own piece of property in a neighborhood.  This meant we actually had a front yard, back yard and a huge side yard.  My paternal grandparents lived behind us so of course we had access to all of that space as well.

Our town was small back then, though I couldn’t tell you the exact population.  I just know that to me it felt like I knew almost everyone and if I didn’t my parents or grandparents certainly did.  I knew every family on my street to be sure, all the way to the lake which was at the far end, probably sixteen blocks or so at least.

If I was hurt or in trouble anywhere on the street, I could safely go knock on the nearest door and ask for help, even if it was something as simple as using the restroom.

I could probably still give you the names of those families and some of them I’ve been in touch with in recent years.  Several of those families were present at my grandparents’ funerals.

Most kids in the neighborhood were on a first name basis with the family who owned the corner store and the gas station at the end of the street as well.  If it was your birthday you could be sure that whatever you bought in the store that day would be “on the house” because the owner somehow just knew it was your special day.

When it rained really hard and fast, the big treat of the day was to put on a bathing suit and tramp and swim in the ditches on the side of the road.  Now wait parents cause I can hear you screaming at this.  As a parent today I would freak out if I saw children swimming in a ditch because of dangers from traffic, glass, trash, bacteria, etc. but we did it repeatedly every summer until I was about twelve and here I am.  It wasn’t just a different time back then, it truly was a completely different world.

We headed outside right after school during the week, would race home for dinner and then go back outside.  The primary rule in good weather was “be home before it gets dark.”  Weekend mornings there was an unwritten rule which kept us inside until after morning cartoons (about 11am usually) but then we’d be off to meet up with friends.  This gave us plenty of time to ride bikes, climb trees and whatever else our young minds could devise.  Many times on weekends, our house was the place everyone headed for just before dark, with permission first from parents of course to stay out later, and there were games of flashlight tag, ghost in the graveyard and hide and seek.

To say I was in a gang probably would be overdoing it, but our street had a core group of kids that were just about inseparable with a few others thrown in here and there.  Sometimes we’d be joined by an occasional younger sibling at the “request” of our parents.  We setup a kool-aid stand in our big side yard and cars would stop and no one thought anything of it then.  Course we drank up a lot of the inventory too on hot days.  Several of us had pairs of tall stilts made from 2×2’s and we’d hold a circus event or stilt races in the side yard.

But what I remember most about the town where I grew up is that everyone knew everyone else.  We had to behave most of the time because the whole neighborhood was full of eyes.  If a neighbor saw us doing something we shouldn’t be doing, they’d quickly come out, give us a lecture and send us home.  By the time we got home, at least one parent would be waiting on the doorstep because “Mrs. Smith” called each house to let them know what had gone on.

Maybe that’s why kids are in so much trouble today.  Neighbors not only don’t know one another but they are actually afraid to get involved in any way even verbally.  So the next time another parent or a neighbor approaches you about something your child did wrong, think about the intent behind their actions.  Even if they didn’t handle the situation in the same way you might have, be appreciative that they cared enough about your child to step in and to notify you so you could be more aware of your child’s world.

When the community stands together in raising children, it can create a much more effective and nurturing environment for everyone.  Let’s get back to that world again.  I know it can be done if enough people care.