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Entries in co-parenting (33)

Tuesday
Dec312013

Co-Parenting Question of the Day: What Are You Leaving Behind in 2013?

Do you typically make New Year's Resolutions?  More importantly, do you stick to them?  The gym is packed on January 2nd.  March 2nd? Not so much. 

Sometimes co-parenting resolutions are like that too.  You start off with the best intentions.  But over time, momentum wanes, life gets in the way, your ex isn't on the same page, and discouragement sets in.  And before you know it, you're facing the same conflicts, in the same ways.

But as with any kind of resolution, you don't have to wait until January 1 to commit to changing your approach to co-parenting.  And if March 2nd comes, and it's looking like 2013 all over again, you can always start again. 

The key words in the preceding paragraph were "you" and "your."  While co-parenting is two-person endeavor, there are resolutions you can make about how you co-parent that are independent of what the other parent does, or doesn't do.  For example, you can resolve to:

1. Communicate via email and text, if phone calls and face-to-face conversations are too charged.

2. "Sleep on it" before responding to communication from your ex that is volatile or potentially volatile.

3. Remember that what your ex thinks of you is none of your business.  You don't have to defend yourself against negative comments about your parenting or your character.

4. Remember that in co-parenting, the old adage is flipped: the best offense is a good defense.  Focus on building up your own emotional health, confidence, and resilience, and on maintaining a solid your relationship with your child.  By being strong in this way, you're less likely to be buffeted about by your ex's negative actions.

5. Be child focused.  Weigh your actions and decisions through the lens of "What will best serve my child?" instead of the lens of your feelings about your ex and the old relationship.  Sometimes what's best for your child might require some stretching and adjusting on your part.

If you're in a high-conflict co-parenting situation, your resolution might be to acknowledge that you're in a high-conflict situation, and that the typical rules for co-parenting don't always apply when you're dealing with an ex whose anger & refusal to cooperate is off the charts.  Your resolution might be to stand down and recognize that fighting fire with fire means that your kids may get burned. Or it might mean accepting that no matter how nice or even doormat-ish you are, your high-conflict ex isn't going to cooperate with you.  And that means letting yourself off the hook from trying to do all the heavy-lifting of co-parenting by yourself; it's just not sustainable...or healthy.  For you, a healthy resolution might be self care, engaging a mediator, filing a motion in court, or all three.

Just as co-parenting isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition, neither are resolutions for co-parents.  A good resolution is anything that serves your child's best interest and helps you stay the course, setting your sights on what is more workable, and leaving behind what hasn't worked.

What are your co-parenting resolutions for 2014? What are you leaving behind in 2013? Tell us in the comments!

Happy New Year from our co-parenting family to yours!

Sunday
Dec222013

Co-Parenting Question of the Day: Is Your Co-Parent on Your Holiday Gift List?

So you've made your list, and checked it twice...And there's one person we're wondering if you've included: your chlld's other parent.

Whether your co-parent is naughty or nice, consider helping your child make or purchase a gift for her other parent.  Or, perhaps you can enlist a grandparent or other relative or friend to assist?  

Even if your co-parent doesn't reciprocate, this thoughtful gesture lets your child know that you care about the relationships that matter to him. And it further gives him permission to be close to both parents without guilt or fear about betraying anyone's loyalty, or having to choose one parent or the other.  This peace of mind is a gift from you to your child.

Not sure if your child wants to give a gift to your co-parent? Ask.  But if your co-parenting situation is a high-conflict one, holiday gift-giving may be a sensitive subject to broach.  You know best whether your gesture would be helpful to your child, or likely to fan the flames of tension with the other parent.

Now for a different question...

What gift are you giving yourself this holiday season?

We believe the gift of self-care is one of the greatest gifts a co-parent can give, anytime of year.  It's a gift that benefits both you and your child.  Especially if your kids are with their other parent during the holidays, it's a great time to grab some you-time, for a massage, to curl up with a good book, or to catch up on much-needed rest.

Not sure what to gift yourself? Here's a mini-gift guide for you or others on your list:

We wrote our book Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Child Thrive in Two Households After Divorce as resource for co-parents, a guide for pursuing peace during the holidays and all year long.  It makes a great gift for yourself, your co-parent, or anyone caring for children who live in two households.

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One key to successful co-parenting is moving beyond your past relationship with your ex to build a parenting partnership that's child-centered.  Out with the old and in with the new.  In that same spirit, Deesha and Magda Pecsenye (Ask Moxie) are hosting Write Out 2013, Write In 2014a 6-hour online writing retreat on New Year’s Eve (before the parties and champagne get under way!). Write Out 2013, Write In 2014 uses writing to help process the past and clarify your desires for the future. Come write about co-parenting or any aspect of your life, and then ring in a New Year full of promise and new possibilities!

Writing Through Your Divorce Workshop...a place for women in all stages of divorce who write to process and who have something to say.

In January, Magda and Deesha will also be facilitating the 3rd session of Writing Through Your Divorce, their 12-week, online workshop for women at all stages of divorce--contemplating, separated, divorce, or remarried. If you write to process and have something to say, this is the worshop for you.

Finally, if you want to write to process privately, outside of a workshop format, check out the Writing Through Your Divorce e-workbook series

Writing to Survive Your Divorce (Without Strangling Your Ex)

So S/He Had An Affair: Writing To Keep From Losing Your Sh*t

So You Had an Affair: Writing While Wearing a Scarlet Letter

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Happy holidays from our co-parenting family to yours! We wish you the gift of peace and joy!

~Mike and Deesha

 

 photo of gift box courtesy of T. Al Nakib

 

 

Monday
Dec162013

Are YOU a Toxic Co-Parent?

photo by Chris Chidsey

We get lots of emails, tweets, and Facebook comments from parents who are struggling to co-parent with someone who is uncooperative, volatile, vengeful...in a word, toxic.  But in the 5+ years since we launched this site, no one has ever contacted us to say, "I'm a difficult, uncooperative, volatile, vengeful, co-parent, and..."  It's quite possible that our site is simply an anathema to such co-parents.  But it's also possible that someone can be a toxic co-parent and not realize it, or not want to admit it.  

In a recent post, Friend of Co-Parenting 101 psychologist Soila Sindiyo asks the question: Are YOU a toxic co-parent?  

No one sets out to be the unreasonable or toxic parent.  I know that divorce can and does bring out the worst in people.

Problem is, when there are children and these super negative emotions override any common sense, empathy, sympathy etc that you may have previously held and you are consumed by thoughts of how to make your ex’s life hell, you are also hurting your little ones.

Read here for Soila's profile of toxic co-parenting behaviors. Do you recognize yourself in any of these? If so, what steps can you take to make changes?