Co-Parenting is a skill to be mastered. Parents of divided/blended families often face several issues that are simply inevitable; especially if the parents aren’t on the same page. Or, don’t have the proper mindset, plan, or tools needed to co-parent successfully. Unresolved differences and ill feelings between parents can detrimentally affect the children involved.
Although, in an ideal situation, separated parents would be able to parent together peacefully, unfortunately, in many instances, the ideal situation does not exist.
So many divided families are struggling to co-parent peacefully. The majority of the time it’s because rather than looking at the full picture and seeking resolutions, both parties usually just play the blame game. The game of accusing the other parent of being the reason their lives are filled with drama or why their relationship with their child is non-existent or in turmoil.
Although your child’s mother could in-fact be the main reason that the two of you are unable to co-parent, it is highly likely that you are also part of the problem and simply do not realize it. While true co-parenting requires both of you to work together, a significant factor that influences your situation is you. Unfortunately, you cannot control your child’s mother, but you can control your actions and reactions. Perhaps you are doing all the correct things already; maybe you have done everything in your power to make your co-parenting situation the best it can be, but maybe not.
A large part of co-parenting effectively is based on your mindset and how you handle situations as they arise. You have to learn to take control of the things that you can and properly deal with the things you cannot control. Specifically, you must learn how to take control of your situation and recognize your responsibility, rather than impulsively blaming all of your problems with your child’s mother.
This can be very hard to get used to, especially if your child’s mother has alienated you from your child, used your child against you, or otherwise caused problems in your life. But, it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s very simple once you change your mindset and your actions. It’s a concept I like to call The Business of Co-Parenting; commitment to learning and implementing this business will improve your situation drastically.
So, what exactly is The Business of Co-Parenting?
The most effective way to manage your divided family and keep everyone and everything running smoothly is to manage it as if you were managing a business. Every well-established business has a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In businesses where the CEO is acting alone, the CEO is undeniably the highest ranking person, in charge of total management and control of the business.
Typically, in many divided families, moms assume this role, because more often than not, they are the custodial parent, the father is absent, or the father isn’t very active. However, if a father insists upon being present and active in his child’s life, this can essentially level the parenting field, and the mother must then work jointly with him as a parenting partner. That’s where you come in.
To master the business of co-parenting, you must establish a parenting Partnership and actively contribute to the responsibilities required by acting as a joint leader, director, and decision maker of your divided family. With this approach, you can tactfully to take control of a negative or even non-existing co-parenting situation.
You redirect it into a markedly more positive direction handling your co-parenting relationship with your child’s mother as a business Partnership. By taking the business approach, you will tactfully handle negative circumstances so you can clearly focus on the task at hand–to protect your most valuable “business asset”–your child. Let me put things into a more clear perspective for you:
Imagine that at your current job (or in your current business) there’s a two billion dollar business opportunity for you (a legal one that doesn’t go against your personal morals of course). Let’s say a “promotion” or “bonus.” In order for you to obtain this bonus or promotion, the only thing you would have to do is perform your usual job duties while working with an assigned team and manager, and show that you’re a good “team player.” That sounds reasonable right? I mean, regardless of your current financial situation right now, I’m sure you could use an additional two billion dollars. I know I can!
I’m also sure, that if the possibility of this two billion dollar promotion or bonus were on the table in real life, you would do whatever, literally (within reason of course) to protect this two billion dollar deal and make sure it didn’t fail. You would more than likely deal with ugly attitudes, extra-long hours, being overworked, excessive criticism, picking up the slack of lazy or incompetent team members or ungrateful managers, and much more, as long as at the end of the project, you were going to get paid. Ironically, you’ve probably already dealt with these types of things in your current or previous job just to ensure that you would remain employed, and could make just enough to pay your bills or live paycheck to paycheck.
I hope that you would agree that your child is worth much more than two billion dollars. So, considering what you’ve already dealt with to maintain something that is of no comparison when it comes to true value, ponder this.
Your child’s mother is your assigned team or manager. Your child is that two billion dollar business deal. What are you willing to do to protect him or her?
From this point forward, this is the mindset you must maintain to master The Business of Co-Parenting. Dealing with your co-parenting relationship like a business Partnership, with a very valuable deal on the line, as opposed to dealing with it as a prior romantic or intimate relationship that didn’t work out, the game changes.
1. When problems or disagreements arise, which, unfortunately, are oftentimes unavoidable, think of it as you would a business/career problem. Sit down, take a deep breath, and brainstorm to find the tools to effectively resolve or minimize those problems.
2. Be proactive when co-parenting. Keep records of events, conversations, and other important matters, just as you would if you were in a business partnership.
3. Communicate clearly and directly without sweating the small stuff. Pick your battles. Just like in a business partnership, in a parenting partnership, everything is not worth fighting over.
Mastering a new “business” mindset, will not only lessen the stress that often comes with the territory of co-parenting, but will also enable you to protect your child’s interests by lessening the feelings of loss they may be experiencing and focus on your most important “asset,” – your child.
Photo: Flickr/ Peter Dahlgren