How to Have a Successful Co-Parenting Relationship
A Florida mother, who violated the terms of a child custody agreement by refusing to turn her four-year-old son over to the father for an agreed upon circumcision, finally consented to having the procedure done at the end of May. During the court proceeding, the judge advised the parents that as they continue to raise their son, disagreements need to be worked out through communication, and not by taking the law into their own hands.
Advice, however, is sometimes easier to give than to take. When a relationship ends because the spouses cannot get along, how are they supposed to work together to raise their children?
While it may not be easy, successful co-parenting is possible after a relationship has ended.
Focus on Communication
Even parents who are married or are in a committed relationship have disagreements regarding how to raise children. Yet no matter the issue, parenting requires communication and compromise. Parents do not run to Court to have a judge be the deciding vote in their disagreements. Instead they talk, even argue a bit (or a lot, depending on the issue), until they come to a mutually agreeable resolution.
When at an impasse with your child’s parent, realize that the situation is most likely not the result of a personal vendetta against you. Instead, the other parent’s opinion comes from a basic desire to do what is best for the child, even if that opinion is markedly different from yours. As such, making time to sit down and calmly and rationally discuss the issue is important. Lay out your side without being accusatory, and listen with an open mind o your ex’s reasoning for his or her opinion. The goal is to find even the smallest bit of common ground and build from there.
Keep Disagreements Away from the Children
Children need consistency to feel secure. The break-up of a marriage or relationship takes away some of that consistency by introducing separate households. However, you can maintain consistency by ensuring that you and your ex maintain a united front, even if you are hashing out issues behind the scenes. If a child recognizes the tension, simply let him or her know that you and the other parent are having a discussion and will reach a decision together. But do not undermine the other parent by bad mouthing him or her. Moreover, do not let the child in on the extent of the disagreement and discussions.
Seek a Neutral Third-Party
If you continue to find yourself at an impasse, a neutral third-party, such as a pastor, counselor, or trained mediator, can help. Emotions and personal issues from the past can sometimes rear their heads and derail the discussions; an unbiased third-party can help keep the discussion on the issue at hand, and can often help both parties see the other’s point of view.
Palatine Family Law Attorney
Seeking court involvement to decide a child-rearing dispute should always be a last resort. But when communication has stalled, Palatine child custody attorney Nicholas W. Richardson is ready to help. Drawing on more than 10 years of experience handling child custody modifications and child custody disputes, Nicholas W. Richardson’s goal is to help parties reach a mutually agreeable resolution through mediation. If that fails, he will aggressively represent you and your child’s best interests in Court. Contact the office today to schedule your free initial consultation.