You may be doubling down on co-parenting and having a moment where you’re wondering if it is worth all the trouble. Perhaps in the earlier days of your separation or divorce, it was more collaborative and cooperative between you and your ex. Does it now feel like co-parenting is considerably harder than before?
Co-parenting is a lot of work, there is no denying it and each stage of the child’s life brings on distinct challenges. But we all hit a point where we need to look in the rearview mirror and determine if it’s a healthy situation.
In early-stage co-parenting there may be a conflict there may be a struggle with parenting styles. Just like with married moms and dads, they have different ways of doing things; different chores, different rules, different bedtimes and/or different punishments. Kids thrive off consistency and they may be struggling with a lack of it across their two homes. The co-parents may be struggling to reach agreements on the basic mechanics of their parenting styles and it is creating conflict and acrimony.
We realize every day is a new adventure with children as they step through the different stages of development. That paired with a conflict-riddled co-parenting environment can be very challenging. As early as age four you can begin to teach these four helpful life skills to manage conflicts: flexible thinking, managed emotions, moderate behaviors, and checking ourselves to see if we’re using these skills regularly. Through discussion, you can apply these to issues the kids have with friends and classmates. These social building blocks can be applied to ‘learning moments’ to help them begin to manage conflict moments with their parents.
Please note, if there is concern of verbal or physical abuse in play with your child, look for the telltale signs. Keep communication with your child age-appropriate and unbiased. In this case, it may mean playing the part of the detective, asking more questions and maintaining a higher than normal level of communication with your co-parent and children.
If you’re in a parallel co-parent scenario you probably text back and forth with your co-parent. You can share information with your co-parent about health and logistics of your kids without direct contact with your ex. It may be as frictionless as possible with a medium to high conflict co-parenting situation. Another more efficient option is to do this messaging within the coParenter app since it builds a printable ledger, provides language filters if things become heated and if things do become an issue, a coParenter Pro has a history of the situation and can help you address the issue quickly and effectively.
We realize life carries on after divorce and through the mid/late stages of co-parenting. Co-parents get into new relationships, they break up. They get new jobs, they get laid off. They get sick and while this all may happen in the ‘background’ of co-parenting it may creep into the mix for you and your children. Or they may be struggling with some co-parenting issues but lack the ability to bring it forward to you.
If you are in the early stages of co-parenting you could be sensing struggle for both of you to maintain focus on your child and their needs. Perhaps the drama between you and your ex is still at a steady boil even though you have adopted a parallel style of co-parenting, parallel meaning detached.
Perhaps with mid/late stage co-parenting there may be a blended family issue, we realize there are many interpersonal challenges when trying to create and maintain a sense of harmony. The simple fact is you may not know what the situation is but may be picking up on the fact that something has ‘changed’.
Remember the reason you took on co-parenting is for the benefit of the child. If the situation has become truly toxic, you have built a record of the issues and attempts to resolve them in the app and it can be brought to court to resolve if it can be proven to be detrimental to you or your kids.