A New Year with New (Co-Parenting) Resolutions
With the new year comes the opportunity for new year’s resolutions and as a divorced or separated parent, a great time to evaluate the good and bad of your co-parenting arrangements. At Buckhead Family Law we know that some of you may have a great co-parenting system, while others may face a more challenging one. Regardless of the category you fall into, the resolutions you set for your family for this upcoming year can help set the tone for a future of amiable and supportive co-parenting. We’re here to help you and your family any way that we can, and we can start by sharing the 10 best co-parenting resolutions for this upcoming year.
- Let go of the past
While there can be a lot of negativity surrounding divorce and separation, having nothing but contempt for your ex will prevent you from successfully co-parenting. In order to live fully in the present, you have to let go of the past and all the negative feelings attached to it. Bitter and angry thoughts take up the space that otherwise could be for happy and positive ones. Forgiveness isn’t synonymous with acceptance; however, forgiveness does allow the opportunity for peace – peace for your own wellbeing as well as that of your child.
- Love your child more than you hate your ex
Focusing on your child and the love you have for them can help you keep sight of what is truly important- their wellbeing and happiness. In keeping this mindset, it can also help in aiding in process of forgiveness as well as making positive co-parenting choices.
- Emphasize respect
Whether or not you’re on good terms with your ex, maintaining a mutual level of respect for one another is key, which includes but is not limited to acknowledging your co-parent’s role in your child’s life, respecting the time they spend together, and keeping the “adult stuff” between the adults. At the end of the day parenting is a family business, and if you can treat co-parenting as a business transaction by removing the interpersonal dynamics and maintaining a healthy level of respect for one another as parents, you’re on the road to finding workable solutions.
- Support one another
Supporting one another doesn’t mean you have to support or agree with every single action or decision the other parent makes in terms of their personal adult life. What it does mean is that as long as the other parent isn’t putting your child’s health and safety into question, you can start trusting that their parenting choices are coming from the right place. Supporting one another also means following through with mutually agreed-upon rules such as bedtimes, curfews, or screen time. In addition to that, letting the other parent know when they’ve done a good job of handling something is important – positive reinforcement does wonders!
Just like any other relationship, communication is key. As we stated previously, co-parenting is a business, and communication between you and your co-parent should be treated no differently. Frame things in the same manor that you would with a colleague or client; keep things direct, clear, and concise. Be cooperative and considerate, think of how your thoughts will come across and if they’re being shared in and at an appropriate time.
- Find where you can compromise
Let’s face it, you and your co-parent aren’t going to agree on everything, and you aren’t expected to! So let’s exercise #5, and figure out a way to communicate effectively in order to find a compromise that works for everyone involved. Some family therapists suggest each parent giving two possible solutions per issue and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each as it relates to the child, and not themselves. This lesson in teamwork and compromise can create a healthy precedent in future conflict-resolution type scenarios. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that the best type of parents are the ones who work together.
- Plan for holidays and vacations
Sharing holidays isn’t unheard of in separated and divorced families, however if that isn’t possible, alternating holidays is a great solution. Staying in the realm of communication and compromising, planning ahead of time for holidays and vacations can work in relieving future stress and conflict between co-parents. As for vacations, try to plan them around the time when you have care of your child and avoid planning anything when the co-parent has their time with the child.
- Stay organized
Staying organized can help co-parenting tremendously, and a great way to do so is by having a shared family calendar. Having a calendar that is accessible by both parents and your kids, if appropriate, can be a game changer. It allows a mutual space to keep everyone involved in school events, sports schedules, medical appointments, social events, and even holiday and vacation plans. Not only does this create an easy visual, but it also can strengthen the sense of teamwork between you and your co-parent as it helps both parents feel “kept in the loop”.
- Plan “parental team meetings”
Regular check-ins with your co-parent can help solidify communication skills while also allowing you to discuss your child’s needs and wellbeing. These monthly meetings will give you and your co-parent the opportunity to discuss what needs to be addressed when it comes to your child’s needs, while discussing and solving any problems.
- Accept that the co-parent is still your child’s parent
Finally, it’s important to accept that your co-parent is still your child’s parent. If you’re upset with your co-parent, seek out help from other adults and have those conversations with them. Offhand comments, snide remarks, belittling, or sharing “adult” information with your kids can be incredibly detrimental to your child. It’s important to remember that coparenting isn’t for you, it’s for your child and ensuring that they have the healthiest relationship possible with both parents.
No matter what your situation is, 2021 will hold many new adventures and challenges for you and your family. Co-parenting can be difficult but implementing the right tools can help co-parenting go more smoothly. At Buckhead Family Law encourage you to emphasize these resolutions as they can truly be beneficial for the whole family. From all of us here, we truly wish you a happy new year and a year full of positive changes in this year and those to come.