As if co-parenting wasn’t already challenging, add the stresses of homeschooling, outside activities canceled, layoffs, financial hardships and fear, and it goes to a whole new level. How do you co-parent in crisis?
Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:
Tip #1 – What’s Best for the Kids is the Highest Priority.
Even if the other parent is not playing by those rules, you can. Come from that place with everything you have control over. It will pay off.
Tip #2 – This is Temporary.
A crisis is a season, not a lifestyle. Be flexible. If changes to the schedule are requested, your decisions should be based on what is best for the kids, not what is fair for the parents.
Tip #3 – Emotions are Heightened.
Take a step back when emotions are high. There is no need to fuel the fire. A kind word turns away rage. Wait for a better time.
Tip #4 – What You Can Control.
One of the hardest parts about co-parenting is the lack of control during your “off” time. Focus on doing your best with what you can control and accept that there are things you cannot control or change.
Tip #5 – Choose Your Battles Wisely.
Is it worth getting upset over? Is it worth creating more tension? Does it matter in the big picture? If not, be flexible and do your part to create peace. Your kids will benefit.
Tip #6 – Being Mad vs. Being Mean.
Parents tell their kids it’s okay to be mad, but not to be mean. Are you living up to that standard? Hurt feelings are often part of broken relationships and that creates feeling mad. However, it’s not okay to take it out on your ex or your kids. Find a healthy person who can support you through your upset so you are not being mean.
Tip #7 – Sharing vs. Splitting.
“Splitting” time between parents should really be called “sharing” time with the kids. When coming from a perspective of sharing, a spirit of generosity is present, while the word splitting is about keeping score to make something even.
Tip #8 – What Your Kids See.
Everything you do is being seen by your kids. They watch how you manage stress, deal with crisis and treat other people. They may never say a word, but they are taking notes. Make sure what they are seeing and hearing from you is something you are proud of.
Tip #9 – Use Your Time Effectively.
Many parents are saddened when their children head off to the other parent for the night or weekend. If you spend your alone time wishing they were home, you will not be refreshed and ready when they return. Use your alone time for self-care, friends and projects so you have more to offer your kids when they are with you.
Tip #10 – Gratitude / Contentment.
Count your blessings. Acknowledge the struggles, but don’t dwell on them. Seasons change. Be grateful for what you have in this moment.
Remember, for every action, there is a reaction and for every choice, there is a consequence. How can your actions and choices benefit your children, instead of taking away from them? How can you create peace and harmony on your end, despite dealing with a difficult ex? You have control over your side of the equation. While it is not easy, it will reap amazing rewards as your children grow up and become adults. If you do your part to co-parent well, your children will be deeply blessed.
Traci L. Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent. She provides parenting classes, teen programs and individual coaching. She is known for her practical parenting style and offers a free 15-minute phone consultation. Schedule today! www.alovingway.com