Co-parenting Tip 1: Set Hurt and Anger Aside
Successful co-parenting means that your own emotions of anger, resentment, or hurt must take a back seat to the needs of your children. Undeniably, setting aside such strong feelings may be the hardest part of learning to work cooperatively with your ex but it’s also possibly the most important. Co-parenting is not about your feelings, or those of your ex, but rather about your children’s well-being, happiness, and stability.
Don't put your children in the middle
You may never fully let go of all of your resentment or anger about your break up. But what you can do is compartmentalize those feelings and remind yourself that they are your issues, NOT your child's. Resolve to keep your issues with your ex away from your children.
Keep your issues to yourself. Never say negative things about your ex to your children, or make them feel like they have to choose. Your child has a right to a relationship with their other parent that is free of your negative opinions or influence.
Never use kids as messengers. When you use your children to convey messages to your co-parent, it puts them in the center of your conflict. The goal is to keep your child out of your relationship issues, so call or email your ex directly.
Use technology. Use technology to coordinate your shared parenting time schedules, access your child's important medical details, store all communications, and more. Just a few of the Smartphone Apps available are:
· Our Family Wizard (www.ourfamilywizard.com),
· 2Houses (www.2houses.com),
· Kidganzier (www.kidganizer.com),
· CustodyJunction (www.custodyjunction.com), or
· Cozi (www.cozi.com)
Separating feelings from behavior
It’s okay to be hurt and angry, but your feelings do not need to control your actions. Instead, let what is best for your children determine your actions.
Get your feelings out somewhere else. Never vent to your children or in front of your children. Trusted friends, family members, or counselors/therapist can all make good listeners when you need to get negative feelings off your chest. Exercise may also be a healthy outlet for letting off steam.
Stay kid-focused. If you feel angry or offended, try to remember why you need to act with purpose and grace: your child’s best interests are at stake. If your anger becomes overwhelming, looking at a photograph of your child may help you calm down.
Social Media. DO NOT take to Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlets to vent about your ex. Depending on your children’s age, it is very likely that he or she will see what you post. Additionally, social media posts are often used as damaging evidence against a parent during custody hearings.
If you found this information helpful, look for upcoming additional tips for successful co-parenting.
It is important to consult with an Attorney if you are preparing for a divorce involving children or you think that there has been a change in circumstances that should result in a new Custody or Parenting Time Order.
If you have questions regarding custody of your children, please call me, Attorney Steven Storrs, at 269-945-2242 or click here to contact me to set up an appointment to discuss your options.
*This blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney before making important decisions regarding your individual situation.