Archive for May, 2014
Co-Parenting is a beautiful response that puts children first! The first step could be to print out this quote and remind yourself daily…Some of you may be wondering, what if I want to co-parent though the other parent isn’t willing to? That is a very fair question and can be the likely scenario especially in the early days though it’s important that as the one wanting to commit to co-parenting then it must begin with you. Consider this for a moment…imagine walking a thousand miles in your children’s shoes and if you have then what would you do better? Below are some tips…Planning – In the beginning…
- Develop a co-parenting plan; you may find this happens quite organically. If not, use the below as a guideline…
- outline a starting care schedule
- financial i.e. child support/school fees
- how to handle your children’s medical needs or concerns
- discipline and household rules/boundaries
- holidays and special events (some families do half and half or alternate years)…you may eventually be able to share these days together
- decision-making guidelines
- Aim for a flexible attitude – It benefits everyone to be flexible about your arrangements – I have expanded more on this below…
- Accept different parenting styles; just as when you were together, you each have a different style. Deal with it…
- Keep your ex-partner up to speed with ‘what’s happening’; find a way to communicate about what’s happening that works for you. We share online calendar and we use a co-parenting app.
- Give your ex-partner some time to learn the ropes; nobody is perfect and this is new for everyone. Be compassionate and patient.
- Be prepared for some negative feelings; Avoid lashing back, time heals. That said, remain on purpose to creating a positive co-parenting relationship. It will happen.
- Communication – Ooooh that word, it is after all the start and end to everything. They say, the quality of our life is determined by the quality of our communication and the quality of our communication is determined by the quality of our questions. YEP questions not statements!! Communication is the art in whichwe impart or exchange information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. The question being here is how do you best communicate when it comes to co-parenting? Keeping in mind that in the beginning it’s a very conscious effort as to the way you respond with the other parent of your children, with practice it does become a way of life. The answer is always communicate with great thought, respect, compassion and consideration.
How; Listen, breathe…respond! Remember Co-Parenting is a beautiful response that puts children first.
**If communication is difficult in the beginning, try using a communication book or an app that makes it easier for you**
- Flexibility – Eeek you mean I have to be flexible even though we are no longer living together? YEP…probably more so!
You will find it quite common that though you have separated there still tends to be a primary parent. In the early years and still today to some extent, I had the time, he had the finances. So with younger children who are needier (though with teenagers, I am forever the taxi driver and I refer to more demanding of you emotionally) – it was our ideal that one parent be more available. In the beginning I worked weekends in retail whilst dad has a corporate career working Monday – Friday. In this case, it worked well for us that our children were with me from a Sunday night through to Friday afternoon and then with their dad on the weekend. It meant they were not away from either parent for too long whilst both parents could work and generate their own income outside of other financial arrangements you may have agreed to. This created a routine and as time moved on and both children were at school, I personally found a M-F job (retail wasn’t for me), we decided upon a new routine – 2,2,3…Mon/Tues with Dad, Wed/Thurs with Mum, Fri/Sat/Sun with Dad and then Mon/Tues with Mum and so on…
The key is flexibility, communicate your needs with each other and form an arrangement. If it doesn’t work, communicate that and then make a new arrangement. Then there will be sport and starting school etc…Your flexibility will need to adapt as your children grow and their circumstances change.
One big NO NO….Do not keep score! Look after your children as they require it. If one of you has to go away on a work thing or plans a holiday with their new partner – take your kids, make it easy!
- Take The Higher Road – Commit to leading with emotional integrity!
If you do take the high road, in the long run your children will admire you for it.
Avoid sabotaging the relationship your children have with the other parent. This serves no-one and the biggest losers are your children.
I couldn’t have said it any better than Dr Phil;
There are two important rules concerning children during times of crisis and instability in your family:
1. Do not burden your children with situations they cannot control. Children should not bear such a responsibility. It will promote feelings of helplessness and insecurity, causing them to question their own strengths and abilities.
2. Do not ask your children to deal with adult issues. Children are not equipped to understand adult problems. Their focus should be on navigating the various child development stages they go through.
In conclusion, this really is a snapshot of my experience of co-parenting for almost a decade and I truly believe I have created the most ideal scenario possible for my children. It all began with a decision and that was followed up with commitment, communication and patience. Though there were the tough times, in the long run by taking the high road – those tough times are very much in the past and today my children have a large extended family whom love them very much. Divorce ends marriages though the family lives on!
“The difficult is what takes a little time. The impossible is what takes a little longer.”
– Fridtiof Nansen, Norwegian explorer (1861-1930)
- What is Co-Parenting – How to share parenting post separation?
Co-parenting is cooperative parenting where fundamentally clear concise communication is the key and the ones ability to put their emotion aside and commit to raising their children together. Generally speaking co-parenting is required when Marriages/Relationships with children have separated or divorced. Thus parents will move to being co-parents. The first step to successful co-parenting is to make a decision that you choose to create a positive share parenting arrangement for your children who are ultimately at the effect of your separation.
I read this from a parenting website earlier and thought it summed it up well – “Your relationship with your partner might have ended, but you’re both still parents to your children. It’s in your children’s best interests for you to figure out how you can both be involved in their lives”.
You may be familiar with the recent announcement by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin to consciously uncouple. I was quite alarmed that some people were quite negative about their approach thinking it was fluffy (evidently this was my approach 9 years ago – I just didn’t call it consciously uncoupling, to me it was the only way). Consciously uncoupling is primarily about putting their children first and co-parenting as a united front as opposed to parenting from a battle field and a little he says she says…Their approach is undeniably wise and very noble. Co-parenting is a fairly new term, you may know of the term ‘shared’ parenting. Co-parenting successfully takes a conscious effort and opposes the social norm/mindset that has been to grant custody of a child/ren exclusively to one parent with limited visitation by the other parent. This concept is archaic and potentially dangerous for the overall well-being and development of a child. Granted in some cases this is required, though my cause is for children who come from a home where neglect/violence does not exist. The concept of co-parenting promotes shared parenting, basically speaking each parent would have equal responsibility as a way to protect children and raise them as close to ‘normal’ as possible with care and love from both parents.
Co-parenting takes discipline and commitment to really put your children first. Separation and divorce are never easy times emotionally and can impact you in so many ways; financially is the big kicker, not to mention it can be a massive hit on your self-esteem…That said upon your separation when two people decide to parent in a shared parenting/co-parent manner, the permanency of the pain seems to dissipate sooner through your decision to respond in accordance with your powerful state to parent together as a united front all whilst living separately.
That said, it is never easy though it is absolutely worth it. Just this past Sunday it was (as you know) Mother’s Day. My day started with the obligatory breakfast made by children followed by a stop in for brunch and a board game with their step-mum at their dad’s house, my stepson was dropped off by his mother whilst we were there – there was not one awkward moment, only ease a big sense of family. This can happen (and it wasn’t always easy) because we decided to take the higher road and co-parent effectively putting our children first. I am deeply grateful for the life we have created, my children know no different. I would never wish for them to have a life of bitterness between the two people they love the most. Would you? The HOW is not as tricky as it may seem it is however a commitment.
Most people like to be in agreement with others and play it safe. Maybe a BOLD statement though I feel is pretty much a true one. Healthy? I’m not so sure!! As we move through our personal empowerment program, I have a sneaky suspicion that we all become someone without that particular need – the need to always ‘agree’ or ‘to be agreed with’. The millionaire mindset as quoted by Shane Krider is to ‘Start to loose the need to have people agree with you’. I love the quote “Be daring, be different, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers…” — Cecil Beaton
So how do we achieve this? How do we act differently to the masses and stand as a supreme authority of our own life? Firstly we have to want to be different, then do different things and the result will be we break out of the herd. The purpose of the herd is to keep you in the herd. Again, the principle of BE DO HAVE rears it’s head, there must be a theme here ~ in order to create change first we must BE the change.
That said, there is no point learning this stuff if we can not or not willing to implement it. As I move through BFE and listen more to coaching calls, I know what it is to be more and to make your future self your best friend. We must be more firm on our values and know more things are black and white, stand up for what you want, be less willing to compromise on your values and for goodness sake follow your instinct. So, being a sovereign and the supreme authority over your own life you will discover you may want to go in a different direction to the masses and follow your north star (a discovery you will uncover by using your BFE program).
I shared the story of blue crabs at our most recent Sovereignty Live 5 Day Event; which is quite interesting. If you put a crab in a bucket alone and it’s able to climb out of the bucket and escape, it WILL climb out to free itself (WINNER). As soon as there are two or more crabs in the bucket, as one tries to climb out and escape, the others will grab it and pull it back in. None of them end up getting out – how ludicrous is this! The term “crab mentality” is used to describe a kind of selfish, short-sighted thinking that runs along the lines of “if I can’t have it, neither can you.” You may have experienced ‘crab mentality’ when you have been in pursuit of something. have you ever had peers attempt to pull you down rather than letting you move forward, get ahead and pursue your dreams. Why is it do you think crabs pull each other back down rather than working together to get out? They can all get out, its proven time and time again, as individuals they achieve, as a herd they get stuck. Rather than them all getting out, heading to freedom and having a massive party, each would rather face the ‘pot’, and meet their fate. NO THANK YOU!!!
In a family environment, ‘crab mentality’ may show up when a family member (possibly YOU) is looking to take on a new travelling experience, new career move or even set up their own business (eh hum Polaris Global). Other family members may do their best to pull you down to prevent you from climbing out of your bucket (seriously who wants to stay housed in a bucket). Shane Krider discussed this topic in detail at our most recent event for Polaris Global, he mentioned as parents we often put our own fears onto our children, though to us it is dressed up as love. We do this to “protect them”, we don’t want to see them fail, not realising that stopping them is also them failing ‘self’. GUILTY AS CHARGED! “Sorry kids, mummy will do better”.
I am a rambler, I will leave it at that for now. Remember you are the centre of the universe and the universe is always expanding, expand with it or retract from it – that decision is yours to make, I choose to expand, just not my waistline
Over & Out x