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Entries in divorce (20)

Tuesday
Feb112014

A Co-Parenting Mom's Journey from Fear to Freedom

When Richard left, my emotions were fear, bewilderment and hate. I wanted to block him out, never see him again. I didn't want him to have anything to do with the children. I felt that if he was going to reject me in such a way there would come a time when he would reject our children, become bored with them as he becomes bored with many of his hobbies. I wanted to protect them, but mainly I wanted to protect myself. I couldn't look at him.

 I am surprised I never crashed driving away after dropping the children off because I was hysterical, blind with tears. It was only fear, fear of yet another row, that stopped me curtailing his hours with the kids, telling him that he couldn't see them so much, because I couldn't see him so much.

Read the rest at Writing Through Your Divorce blog to find out how this co-parenting mom moved from fear to giving her sons the freedom to love their father.

photo by Bart Hickman

Thursday
Jan092014

Co-Parenting Mentors...Get One, Be One!

Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? National Mentoring Month was created in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.  They identify mentors as people who have the "ability to listen and to offer friendship, guidance and encouragement."  Creating a space for co-parents to connect with each other, be heard, and get advice and encouragement is why we founded Co-Parenting101.org.  And while the official focus of National Mentoring Month is on mentoring young people, we think this month is also a good time to find a co-parenting mentor for yourself, or to become a mentor for someone who could benefit from one.

photo by Bartek Ambrozik

Last month, we asked co-parents to reflect on resolutions for the New Year.  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.  Having a mentor--someone who is supportive of you as a co-parent and who can be a positive influence--can help you keep to the resolutions you make.  A co-parenting mentor can be someone who has been co-parenting longer than you have, or someone who has been co-parenting under similar circumstances.  Most people are flattered when asked to serve as a mentor, so if there's a co-parent you admire, ask if he or she would be open to being a sounding board for you.

Perhaps you're a co-parenting veteran who has "been there, done that."  Is there a newbie or struggling co-parent who might benefit from your hard-won wisdom?  An understanding and sympathetic ear might be all it takes to make the connection.

Are you already in a co-parenting mentorship, or have you been in the past?  We'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments section.

 

 

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!