Co-parenting can be challenging, but creating a positive co-parenting relationship will benefit both the adults and child in the end. January is the perfect time to make some positive changes in your co-parenting relationship. Instead of making resolutions that only benefit you, such as weight loss or exercise, pick one to benefit everyone. As promised, here is part two with a few more ideas for New Year’s resolutions for co-parenting. If you missed part one, it’s still available on our website.
Things change, kids grow up, activities and involvement evolve, and as they do, your parenting agreement needs to be updated to reflect that. If they’re in a new club, playing a new sport, or existing commitments have changed in the schedule, make sure you discuss this with your co-parent to help mitigate any potential conflict that may arise. The more planning ahead you can do, the better things will flow in the future. Discuss new responsibilities that arise with these changes, whether they be financial or logistical, and figure out who will be responsible for what.
This year do one nice thing for your co-parent to demonstrate kindness. You could do this in a variety of ways, such as getting them a small gift, baking them a dessert, or offering to help them out with a project. If you know they’ve been sick, bring over some chicken soup and cold medicine. It doesn’t take a huge act to demonstrate kindness and consideration. Find something that would help your ex and give unconditionally. Again, this sets an excellent example for your children, along with bringing stability to their lives.
While on the surface this seems like it could be a self-improvement type resolution, there’s more to be gained by finding peace within. Your ex can probably press your buttons pretty easily and make you angry, hurt, sad, or upset. If you identify these buttons, find the underlying cause, and learn how to roll with it, then let it go, you can begin to heal. Finding your inner peace to prevent reactionary emotions will improve the co-parenting relationship and keep the child from being emotionally hurt by any outbursts.
While it may not be something you look forward to or enjoy, you should do everything possible to keep the lines of communication open with your co-parent. Be civil and mature at the very least. Open and honest communication is a great way to avoid future misunderstandings and conflicts. Come to a mutual decision on what basic rules will be enforced at both homes, the more uniform between the households, the better. Define roles for all family members in both households, such as with significant others, so there are not future miscommunications or misunderstandings.
Children may attempt to pit parents against each other in order to get their way. Communication comes into play here so that each parent is kept up to date and informed. Discuss with your child that you still talk to your co-parent regularly so that there isn’t an opportunity for manipulation. When they get in trouble at school or want to join a club, tell them you need to talk it over with your co-parent first to get their thoughts on the matter.
Also, set firm boundaries and let the children know that you and your ex are in this together. When a child requests to stretch those boundaries, such as watching a PG-13 movie at age 9, it’s clear that both parents will have input on the matter before a decision is made.
Even if you cannot get the other parent onboard with any or all of the resolutions you choose to implement, there’s still great value in unilaterally enacting them yourself. You’ll set a positive example for your child, and they’ll come to appreciate your efforts and attitude. Whatever you can do to improve the co-parenting relationship will benefit your child as they often bear the brunt of any lingering relationship issues.
See which of these ideas speak to you and figure out how to enact one or more. Your children will thank you for it. If you need help navigating your unique co-parenting journey, turn to Family Matters Law Group in Henry County and Fayette County, Georgia. We’re here to help you every step of the way.