A Kinder, Gentler Approach To Co-Parenting
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By Sarah Williams, Guest Author - April 01, 2016

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Always be clear about what you mean, discuss things openly and don’t try to guess what he’s thinking or trying to say. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Eventually, your co-parenting relationship will fall into place.

 

As human beings, we form relationships all the time and every day we communicate with people in different ways. But sometimes the situation changes, and the existing relationship changes. Whether it will change into something ugly and negative, or healthy and positive, is up to us.

Being a single mother while dealing with an ex, for instance, is rarely easy, for them or us. Often it ends up pretty bad and has a huge negative effect on the child if mom and dad can't get along. But if we try a new, more peaceful and simple approach, things may just work out.

Here are 8 tips for fixing one of the biggest post-divorce problems - co-parenting.

1. Always keep your why in mind.

First of all, know something crucial: you and your ex have a common priority in life - your child. And as we know, life is all about priorities. People who have a common passion can form stable relationships.

Benefit from that by always remembering why you’re trying to make co-parenting work with him - because you want to give your kids the childhood they deserve without overburdening them with your relationship issues.

That one thought will help you be patient and avoid getting too emotional. It’s also something you can often remind your ex of so that you two can keep your priorities straight and build effective communication.

2. Don’t expect too much.

We, as women and mothers, already expect too much from ourselves. We also expect our children to turn into the people we want them to become. So why complicate things by expecting the father to behave in a certain way too?

Truth is, people have limitations. The sooner we accept that, the better.

Let go of wanting too much from your co-parent, of having a vision in your mind of how he should behave and how he should be living his life. Let him be who he is and keep your co-parenting relationship positive. That will make things much easier and simpler.

3. Replace expectations with understanding.

Once you let go of expecting, you’ll start accepting. That’s a big part of your spiritual development and becoming the person who can handle this new kind of co-parenting relationship.

Compassion is something that always works. No matter what the other person is doing or saying - in this case, your ex - be okay with it and show compassion. Unless, of course, he is being abusive! He will feel your compassion, it will make him more peaceful and less angry.

Soon, you’ll reach a point of understanding you haven’t experienced before.

4. Constantly remind yourself that you’re not together anymore.

One of people’s weaknesses is that we struggle with accepting a new reality and keep living in the past.

You can’t afford to do that in the case of co-parenting.

Develop the mindset of a single mother and a divorced woman. You can still be successful and happy, it’s just that things are different.

Truly understanding that will help you stop judging your ex when he does something you don’t approve. That will ease the communication and will give you more peace of mind over time.

5. Respect his opinion.

His opinion matters as much as yours. Don’t think you’re always right. Sometimes, he might just think of ways to handle parenting better.

Plus, it’s always great to hear another point of view.

6. Learn to listen:

Listening is at the core of effective communication. It helps you get in the head of the other person, make him feel important, show attention to details, really understand what he means and even read between the lines.

When it comes to your child, that can be crucial.

7. Be friendly and cordial:

I understand that if your ex was a narcissist or a sociopath that can be one of the hardest journeys you’ll ever take. But it’s worth it.

If you let go of any judgment, expectation and regret, you can form some kind of friendship. If that’s what your kid sees every time you two get together, it will turn into a person who’ll respect other people and will form better relationships on his own.

Do it for the child’s sake. Be a role model and instead of constantly arguing with the father, keep it friendly.

8. Be cooperative:

Effective co-parenting is all about communication and cooperation.

Always be clear about what you mean, discuss things openly and don’t try to guess what he’s thinking or trying to say. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Eventually, things will fall into place.

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