Shift your Perspective in 2019: Co-Parenting

We all know how New Year’s resolutions go: we hype them up, brag about them for the first few months of the new year, and then by March, wonder what happened. This year can be different because we have a new type of resolution for you to consider: Pressing ‘reset’ on your perspective. The new year of 2019 serves a fresh start and a new opportunity to shift your view (and approach) to how you co-parent, and most importantly, how you view co-parenting. We hope this will be a resolution that you can stick to.

Whether you are currently in the throes of your divorce or saying ‘goodbye’ to your old life via the rearview mirror, it is natural to feel resentment for your current circumstances or hardships, and for those feelings to put a damper on your overall approach to co-parenting.

Here are some tips to shift your perspective on co-parenting in 2019:

Be Consistent with Your Co-Parenting Approach

Sometimes divorcing co-parents may become competitive with each other for their children’s love. You or your ex may try to bribe your children in an effort to make them favor you over their other parent, by buying them more gifts, relaxing the rules, and giving into their wishes. However, studies show the importance of consistency and structure in a child’s life, especially during times of change. Divorce is a time of extreme change. Work with your co-parent to come up with consistent expectations and rules that your children will be expected to follow in both your household and at your co-parents' home. Acting in a consistent manner will help your children more easily transition between each household and to feel like their parents are on the same team, despite their divorce.

Practice Peace.

Of course, the above advice is easier said than done. You have two options when dealing with your former spouse on issues relating to your divorce and co-parenting—you can practice peace, or you can allow stress and subsequent chaos to rule your life. But…is it really up to you? What if your co-parent does not cooperate? What if they don’t listen? What if they are the one launching the grenades?

Well, here is the most important thing to remember: You determine how you react to your co-parent's behavior. You may not be able to control their actions, but you certainly can devise a strategy for how you respond. Sometimes, this strategy takes time to learn and to practice and obtaining the help and advice of a good therapist, with experience in divorce and high conflict co-parenting is immeasurable.

Ultimately, conducting yourself in a peaceful manner, and learning how to best react- or not react- to your ex’s offensive behavior can be extremely challenging. However, you must always remember: your reaction to your co-parent’s outbursts and attempts at control or manipulation is your own responsibility.

Be a role model for your children

We would all like to think that we are good role models for our little ones. During or after a divorce, the best way to parent your children is by action. This includes how you communicate with your co-parent despite their negative behavior, how you manage your emotions, and how you support and love your children, unconditionally. If you and your co-parent are on less than ideal terms, make 2019 the year in which you vow to control your reactions to their behavior, demonstrating to your children that you are the parent who offers consistency and comfort in the face of anger and instability. Leading by example and showing your children that the only things we can control in our lives are ourselves, is a powerful lesson.

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