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The Fit coParent

Improving a child’s life begins with simple repetitive exercises, the first of which I like to call FIT – Focus, Integrity and Trust.
(3 minutes 23 seconds read time)

Lori Denman-Underhill
Lori Denman-Underhill uses the power of the press to raise awareness about endless causes.

Improving a child’s life begins with a fit parent conducting simple repetitive exercises, the first of which I like to call FIT – Focus, Integrity and Trust.

The primary or basic, foundational success driven strength builder is focus. Not just any focus, drive or point of reference but a critical requisite framework laid for a future of healthier parenting.

From this point forward, shift the focus from parental needs and wants to what is in the best interest of the child or children. Put the children front and center in every decision that is made stretches your ability to coParent and strengthens your commitment to insure your child feels loved, secure and free from unwarranted stressors. Practicing child centric decision making through a lens focusing on what is best for children will foster positive outcomes for families in no time.

Integrity in parenting is to be qualitatively honest in all of your dealings with your co-partner, no matter how the other party or parent behaves. To exercise strong moral principles in coParenting means to be consistent, ethical and doing the right thing in a reliable way. The right thing is putting children in the center not the middle. This very difficult character building exercise will stretch the will and abilities of even the most patient or honorable. To practice integrity is to be incorruptible even when faced with a difficult, undependable or dishonest coParent. Integrity is a “contagious” virtue affecting the most susceptible children.

Kids who are exposed to at least one parent doing the heavy lifting by routinely making good choices has a fair shot at becoming successful reliable adults themselves. Parents who practice integrity set an example of principle and honesty for their progeny.

Becoming a fit coParent requires some jumping or rather leaping! A leap of faith and lunge of trust can improve the overall health of a coParent relationship, presuming there are no existing issues of abuse. Trust is just such a conditioning endeavor to improve the fitness and grace of moving forward to overall fitness.

Trust is learning to let go of the fear that many separating, divorcing or divided parents have. Fear of loss, the unknown, future relationships, child well being, being alone, finances and so many other frightening concerns. Trust is neither naive or micromanagement; it is moving forward – leaping in faith and trusting the premise that a commitment to child centric determinations will foster positive results.

The pleasing end result will produce Olympian parents who champion them children. That winning combination is a generational victory.

Author Judge Sherrill Ellsworth is the Chief Community Officer for, the sister site of Ellsworth is the Past Presiding Judge of Riverside County, a Judicial Educator and former Family Law Judge. After almost 20 years on the bench , she has earned a reputation for being a straight-forward, no-nonsense, fair judicial officer. A broadly talented jurist and settlement expert, Judge Ellsworth has effectively handled complex civil litigation cases, family law, felony criminal trials, probate and general trials throughout her almost 30 years of lawyering and judging. Judge Ellsworth was one of the court’s most respected and admired bench officers, earning the trust and revere of her colleagues and the lawyers who appeared before her. In 2014 she was named the Lawyer of the year by the J.Rueben Clark Law Society Los Angeles Chapter, 2014 for her Judicial leadership she was named as an Inductee to Western State University Hall of Fame, 2013 Judge Ellsworth was awarded the Douglas Weathers Judicial Leadership Award by the California Consumer Attorneys , as well as various awards for her judicial leadership both as Presiding Judge and for Family Law, 1999, she was named the American Business Women’s Association Woman of the Year for Judicial Leadership. Judge Ellsworth was appointed vice-chair of the California Court Case Management System Justice Partner Advisory Committee in 2010. She was a member of the Strategic Evaluation Committee appointed by the Chief Justice and of the council’s Trial Court Budget Working Group, Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, Family and Juvenile Law Advisory Committee, and Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants.