I have been co-parenting with my daughter’s father for a while now. I was curious about co-parenting, what our child sees. So, the other day, I asked my daughter what she likes about the way that her father and I parent her. Her answer to me was that she likes how we get along. I was thinking more along the lines of our level of strictness or just our parenting style. She was thinking about the way that her dad and interact in parenting her.
I continued to entertain her direction of the conversation.
I asked her, “Well, how can you tell that we get along?” She said, “you guys are both always kind to each other. I never see you fighting, or arguing, and you both support me with school and my events.”
So, my daughter is right. What she witnesses with her father and I, is truly what our co-parenting relationship is like.
I never want my daughter to feel like she is the child of the “stereotypical” divorced home with parents constantly arguing; lacking good communication and lacking certain opportunities and resources. Let’s not forget the awkwardness between parents and step parents at the kids’ events. It’s important to me to think about co-parenting and what our child sees.
Please understand, I’m not perfect, but I do try to be aware of my actions and the effects that it can have on others. If you are a momma, and in the midst of co-parenting with an ex or even in a current relationship, here are a few gems that I would share to ensure that you and your co-parent are doing the best that you can to exhibit a healthy relationship to your child.
Put your child first.
It’s not always easy, but put your differences aside. You have to think about making the best decision, having the best behavior. The best response is one that’s focused on your child.
Always respond with integrity.
Even if your co-parent hits below the belt, or says something that you do not like, take the high road. In the words of Michelle Obama, ““When they go low, we stay high.” If you are tempted to initiate the conversation with some unkind words, don’t. Sometimes, it’s best to not respond at all. I often think of what my mother used to tell me as a child: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I take this advice to heart when it comes to co-parenting.
Less is best.
Until, you and your co-parent are on better ground and in a better space, less is often best: less interaction, less communication, and less expectations. They are no longer your spouse or your mate, so stop expecting them to be the way that you want them to be. Accept them for exactly who they are, and focus only on what they are for your child.
Don’t involve your child.
This is my most important rule. I have asked this of my ex as well. Never involve the child in your co-parenting issues. This includes financial discussions and parenting disagreements. Never speak negatively about your ex to your child or in your child’s presence. The less that kids know, the less stress they will have. They will be able to focus on just being a kid.
This is a short list, however, I have much more to share. If you find yourself in need of a turning point in your co-parenting relationship, I suggest this as a great place to start. I’m not an expert, just a single mom focused on setting the best example for my kiddo. I’m focused on having a healthy co-parenting relationship with my ex. I think often about co-parenting and what our child sees.
And, yeah I get it. These items may seem easier said, than done. But, it truly takes practice and effort. The only person that we can control is ourselves. Believe it or not, once others see how we act and respond, they will eventually follow suit. It won’t be immediate, but your co-parenting can get there in due time. Everything takes time. Just focus on you and the role model that you are for your kid. You’ve got this! I believe in you!