Nobody plans to get divorced or separate from their partner, especially if you have kids. Most of us have a vision of the kind of life that we want to create for ourselves and our families, and having to co-parent with an ex is never part of the plan. But when life happens and things fall apart, we need to pick up the pieces for ourselves and our children.
Some of you may know that I had my eldest child before I got married, which means I’ve been co-parenting with my ex for about seven years. Breakups are never easy for children. However, we have the power to soften the blow by having a healthy co-parenting relationship with our exes. You can’t control how your ex behaves, but you have complete responsibility for your actions. I may not have all the answers, but I’ve learnt some valuable lessons over the years. Here are some tips on navigating co-parenting with ease.
Here’s the thing, if you don’t take the time to heal from your break up, chances are that you’ll bring the same hurt into your co-parenting relationship. Take time to self-reflect on the role that you’ve played in the demise of your relationship. Forgive your ex, and most importantly, forgive yourself. I know that forgiveness doesn’t come easily; however, you’re blocking your blessing by holding on to things. Forgiveness can lead to feelings of understanding and compassion for the people that hurt us. It brings the kind of peace that helps you go on with life. When you’re a happy individual, it’s easier to co-parent with peace and compassion.
Never bad mouth your ex
Never bad-mouth or allow people to speak negatively about your ex in front of your children, no matter how angry you are. Listen, I know that most of us deal with difficult exes, but you have to remember that you’re teaching your child to be disrespectful when you bad mouth your ex. We need to lead by example. Remember that you are the adult in this situation, so you need to put your feelings aside if you want to raise your child in a safe and loving environment.
Our kids didn’t choose to be here, we made that choice for them. So, it’s our duty to protect them at all costs. As co-parents, your role is to work together to help your child thrive. That means you will need to find a way to put your differences aside by loving your child more than you dislike your spouse.
Remain civil at all times
Now, I’m not saying that you need to be best friends and invite each other to dinner, although that wouldn’t be a terrible thing. But it would be best if you made a conscious decision to treat your ex with respect at all times. When your kids see that you can communicate kindly and respectfully, they will appreciate it and follow suit.
Don’t give in to guilt
Family breakups are a painful experience, and we all handle challenges differently. Not being in your child’s life can cause you to convert your guilt into overindulgence. You’re not doing your child any favours by continuously succumbing to every single demand from them. None of us want to end up with self-centered and entitled kids.
Divorced or separated parents can co-parent successfully. Getting there is not always easy, but possible. Are there any co-parenting tips that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below.
Photography By Elsie B