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Co-Parenting With Confidence

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Co-Parenting With Confidence

A break-up, separation, or divorce is not often easy. Or amicable. Or painless. Going from a partnership to “single” creates emotional turmoil. Not to mention the sense of loss we experience, no matter the reasons for its’ end. I think we can all agree: ending a relationships sucks. This can be especially difficult to do when the person you once saw as a romantic partner is now your co-parent, and you have to navigate a different type of relationship together. Refusing to co-parent doesn’t just hurt an ex; it hurts kids too. Answered anonymously, we asked a few people how they began co-parenting with confidence.

“I feel like keeping the little frustrations to myself really helps. If it were a BIG frustration, I know I need to be assertive. But we’re not married anymore. I don’t need to share every feeling I have. It’s honestly nice keeping that boundary for myself. It lets me focus on the kids, not my feelings and my ex.”

“I keep the kids out of our parenting. I do not communicate through them or ask them to deliver messages. It’s a burden I have seen too many parents lay on their kids. We decided to have children and it’s our responsibility to work together.”

“Open communication was the first skill I learned as a co-parent. But only as it pertains to the kids. Yes, I feel like we have a healthy relationship as co-parents. But NO NO NO…I don’t want intimate conversations any more. Friends? Yes. Co-parents? Absolutely! Talking to me about your girlfriend? Ehhh, not so much.”

“We always put the kids and their schedules first, but even more so after we broke-up. Making sure we have our schedules lined up so the kids don’t miss activities and that we are both present whenever possible shows the kids they are our priority.”

“Not overreacting has helped so much! We both are hot-headed. When we were together it was easy for arguments to go from bad to worse. I guess I try and stay grounded and not let those same buttons that were pushed in marriage be pushed while we co-parent. It also helps that I know our relationship starts and ends with the kids.”

“We work really hard on consistency in our rewards and discipline. Like, if my ex-husband grounded our daughter from her phone for staying on it too late, that punishment carries over to my house too. Or if one kid gets a celebratory meal for good grades with me, they get the same at dad’s house. Kids may not know it, but they crave consistency.”

“As a couple we struggled with compromise. It’s still tough as co-parents. When I feel overwhelmed, I have more courage now to end the conversation with the agreement that we’ll talk when I’m in a better head space. I guess I didn’t have the confidence to be assertive when we were together. When I focus on the kids rather than our relationship, I feel stronger.”

It’s good to keep in mind that none of the people who responded in this blog were in an abusive relationship. An abuser can be impossible to co-parent with. They will most likely continue to try and exert power and control through co-parenting. With that being said, co-Parenting does NOT have to be perfect. Just like your kids have learning experiences every day, so will you. There will be disagreements and arguments between you both and it will be frustrating at times. Your kids will grow up with a blended family, sure. But that won’t be what impacts them the most. How you conduct yourselves, how you both problem solve, and how you treat each other…now that is what will impact them.

Co-Parenting With Confidence

Co-Parenting With Confidence

Co-Parenting With Confidence

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT.(The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Be Seen and Heard Journey. Please note that this episode, like all BSH Journey episodes, features Victor speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited.)

Hey, it’s Victor. Welcome to the Be Seen and Heard  Journey. Thank you so much for being with me today.This is not an easy topic to talk about today for me. And the topic is co-parenting. It’s not easy because I don’t really talk about my divorce very often, but I’m ready now. I want to start sharing. I’ve always talked about my feelings.

It’s like therapy for me.

So I’m at the place in my life where I can talk about it. And I’m happy to say that co-parenting with my ex has been relatively a smooth process. And I know it’s not like that for every situation, but I’m going to say this. Number one is to have open communication with the other person and you’re not always gonna agree, obviously, cause you’re in the situation for a reason, but you can come to a middle ground. And I think it’s really important to put the kids first, right?

There’s an old phrase that says you have a choice to be kind or right. So sometimes you just have to choose to be kind and let things go. And again, I know this is not always easy, but I try to focus on the positive because I want to be that for my kids. And so I think it’s important to not put kids in the middle of the divorce or the co-parenting. We want to do what’s best for our kids, but we don’t have to get them involved. And I’m going to be honest. I raised my hand. I’m not always good at that, but I catch myself very quickly now. I change the subject.

I don’t want the kids to think negatively about their mom.

And I’m sure she feels the same way about me. So it’s about communication. Another challenging part of co-parenting is, you know, eventually there’s potential of getting remarried. And my ex is weeks away from getting remarried. And fortunately for me, and I say this selfishly, I’m very grateful that she’s marrying somebody who’s a very nice, genuine person who is going to be there for my kids.

I know it. And I’m so grateful. I could not imagine if it was going to be anybody else. And I told them that. I said, “I’m honored that you’re going to be a father figure for my kids.” But here’s the deal. Kids don’t always share the same feeling. Two out of three of my children are accepting of everything right now. They moved into a new house over a year ago. They’re going to a new school.

And I can’t imagine what that’s like.

I can’t imagine, but my one son has been having a lot of issues with it. So I keep thinking to myself, “what can I do to keep instilling upon him? That everything is going to be okay?” What he’s thinking is that I’m being replaced. And I sat my three kids down one day and I said,

“Listen, you’re going to have a new brother and a new sister soon, and you need to treat them as such. And you’re also going to have a stepfather. I want you to know this: mom is not replacing me. She’s replacing a husband. It’s a big difference. She’s never going to replace me. I’m always going to be your dad, right? Always I’m going to be there for you.

But now you have a bonus. You have someone in your life who is going to be there for you. Someone that you can call upon someone who is very talented in sports and is a very genuine person. So you go to this person, learn from this person, let him teach you, but I’m always going to be here for you. And I’m always going to be your dad first and foremost.”

So open conversation, keep reminding because for me, you know, my son, he keeps going backwards. And I say to him, “No, you have to go forward. I’m going to give you as much time as you’re going to need, but you gotta start looking at it. This is going to be your new norm. This is your life. And you can choose how you wan tit to be.”

And I said, “Stop blaming anything outside of you. You have to start taking responsibility and make it awesome. You can do this.”

So I think co-parenting is about really, really trying to get along as best as you can. Obviously, it’s not always simple and it’s not always smooth, but you do the best you can. And you focus on what you want as opposed to what you don’t want. You just continue to get better and better each and every day. So with that being said, enjoy reading the blog. Please share the blog with people you know, family and friends, and let’s keep the messages going. And I believe this with all my heart and soul, every child, no matter how old they deserve to Be Seen and Heard. Have a great day. Thank you.

Co-Parenting With Confidence