Let’s be realistic for a moment, you may never reach the point in life where you no longer hold resentment or bitterness about the split with your ex-partner or how you’ve decided to raise your child together. Be that as it may, you can resolve to keep your issues with your ex away from your child. By being committed to cooperating with a positive outlook, you do have the ability to create a strong working relationship with your ex-partner that is a benefit to your child, not a detriment.
A healthy partnership between parents is what you are striving for; a team that works together to achieve a goal, which in this instance is a happy and flourishing child. Regardless of how you and your ex feel about each other at this point in life, your child needs both of you and your ‘no strings attached’ love. Meaning, the love your child receives isn’t dependent upon or sullied by the ups and downs of his parent’s rapport.
To begin, there has to be a change in mindset; go from focusing on all the things you feel your co-parent is doing wrong and start focusing on how you can improve your experiences with them from your side. Start visualizing that every time you have a positive encounter, your child prospers. The well-being of the child is the most important outcome of any situation, and you should always keep that in the back of your mind.
Every drop of energy you funnel away from the struggles between parentsis another drop filling up the cup that holds the happiness, support, and love you give your kid.
Stop seeing the relationship you have with your ex as what it once was, and start with a fresh outlook. What you had is over, however, the child you created still needs both of you working as one.
Co-parenting can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it. There will always be instances where as parents you will disagree, on everything from your child’s wardrobe to the morals and values you want to instill in them. It is your job as their parent to take those disagreements, and turn them into a path of success. Instead of viewing each clash or altercation as an excuse to complain about your co-parenting partner, use it as an opportunity. In every situation you have a choice, make the choice to focus your energy on bettering your child’s life and not creating strife. Your responses to arguments have a direct effect on the child, causing worry, fear, and unrest. Is this what you want for them? Or, would you rather they feel stable, and secure?
Now, you’ve made the decision to do what is best for your child, and you are endeavoring to have positive interactions with your co-parent. How can you apply that to everyday situations?
Control your Emotions
There isn’t anything wrong with have feelings, with being hurt or upset, but it shouldn’t detract from the bond you have with your child. Don’t allow yourself to let what you are feeling for your ex to drive your actions. Be courteous, calm, and collected. When you begin an encounter with anger or aggression, it is extremely difficult for the other party not to respond in kind. The best interests of your child are at stake, and it is okay to take a deep breath and repeat that in your head when needed. Spewing all that emotion over your ex, eventually seeps down to your child and makes it confusing for them on who to trust. Visibly seeing you bringing one another down can make them doubt you. Was Daddy wrong or Mommy? When, as co-parents, you show each other respect your child will as well. If you are unable to do this, remove yourself from the situation, sleep on it if nothing else. Vent your feelings away from the child; a friend, family member, or even an activity that takes your mind off the events can help you resolve your emotion. Once you are back in control, do not leave the predicament unsettled as this only fosters bad feelings.
Agree to Disagree
This may be an old statement, but it has yet become outdated. You will not agree on everything, and should accept that fact up front. As we are all different people and have different outlooks on life this is okay. You shouldn’t be upset with your ex because they want different things, or because they simply don’t want what you do. Be respectful of their choices and views, as long as what is best for the child is the end result.
Be Willing to Compromise
There are times you are going to make a decision that you hate. Deep down you know that you are paving out a better future for your child, but you have trouble dealing with the now. It is essential that you find ways to compromise with your ex, or learn the skill. Sadly, we can’t all be right all the time. What you can do is list out your priorities. Find the items in your child’s life that you are not willing to budge on, and make concessions in other areas. Simply by knowing where you stand going into a discussion, helps keep the peace and allows you to communicate clearly. When all is said and done, regardless of our emotional standpoint, some things are just not as important as others. Be willing to set aside your personal agenda to do what is right for the child.
Set Realistic Goals
Often as parents we have very defined expectations for our children, and the things they experience in life. As our children grow and develop, we find they also have their own expectations and we learn to adapt to what suits them best. The same rule stands when dealing with your co-parent. Avoid confrontations and disappointment by not forcing them to meet high expectations that you are more than aware they cannot meet. Do not set them up for failure. Do not set yourself up for failure, or your child, for that matter. Create guidelines and rules that everyone can adhere to.
Do NOT Put your Child in the Middle
Regardless of the state of the relationship between parents the child should feel nothing but loved and supported. Your problems are NOT your child’s and nor should they be. Any issues you have with your ex should be dealt with in private. Avoid using your child as a messenger, or to dig up dirt on your ex. This forces your child to choose sides, and is basically teaching them that the best way to gain your affection is to hold contempt for the other parent. In doing so, you spend much of your time obsessing about your ex, their new significant other, and their new life. Instead you could be having quality time with your child. Children shouldn’t have to feel guilty for loving their parents, or for enjoying spending time with them. You should be nurturing the bond between parent and kid, not tearing it down.
Look to your Child’s Future Together
Planning what the future looks like for your child is a great way to foster positive emotions between co-parents. Nothing makes a mother or father happier then imagining what their child will do or accomplish. Make sure you are setting aside some time to share this with each other. Even things as simple as if you think they’ll learn to ride their bike this week, or how excited you are for them to start a new activity. Keeping the dreams and hopes you have for your child buried, only lessens the joy of parenting. In addition, by voicing these things to each other it’s more plausible that you will work together to see that they happen.
Support Each Other
Probably more important than any other action in co-parenting is supporting one another. Even though it is apparent you and your ex are not good for each other, you can both be very good for your child. Your ex may have been a horrible partner, but is an outstanding parent. Refrain from bad mouthing your ex, or lessening the value of their contributions to your child. Support them in bettering themselves, and finding their happiness. Encourage your child to support them as well. Helping your ex, helps your child and vice versa. When you offer a united front to your child, it offers them peace and stability.
Despite all the challenges, strive to be the best parent you can be. Strive to be positive and handle all issues with tact and understanding. You are not alone, and your child shouldn’t feel alone either. Work together to make responsible decisions in raising your child. Be open, clear, and willing to bend. Mindset is everything. If you believe the relationship will never get better, then it won’t. Focus on your child and what makes them happy. Let go of the past you had with your ex, and work hard for the future of the child you made together. Put your child first, it will be worth every effort.
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