Archive for category Relationships
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.
I say to my kids when they are struggling to get over something…go to the hardware store, buy timber, build a bridge and get over it!! Easy right? We expect our kids to ‘get over it’ and deal with their issues quickly though I continually hear stories of ex’s just not able to move past their previous relationship and yet are in another relationship…WHAT THE??
It is imperative when moving on from a previous partner to another that you MOVE FORWARD. Moving forward is not holding onto your past or hosting a series of grudges toward an ex partner. Perspective is a wonderful word and it’s up to you how you look upon your life and it’s up to you on the story you create from your experiences thus far. You can choose to look back with regret, anger and hatred or you can look back with gratitude that he/she came into your life and with that possibly you had children or even just some fun times and certainly at some level would have experienced love.
Let’s face it, it’s not often we enter into a relationship without some sense of feeling warmth toward the other person (hopefully love), as the saying suggests, best to have loved and lost than not loved at all…it’s just how you look at it – perspective!
Ask yourself, can you possibly have a fulfilling next relationship if you have unresolved feelings toward your previous relationship/s? What can you do to resolve your issues and alter your perspective? The answer; gratitude. It is impossible to not feel even just a little bit better when we are grateful – that is a human absolute. There really is no greater wisdom in understanding that no matter the situation there is always something to be grateful for.
If you understand the butterfly effect, you will know that one flap of a butterfly’s wing can alter and impact the life of someone and then their actions impact the life of someone else and so on, the initial action could affect generations to come (children do as you do and not as you say)…just as the ripple in a pond on one side of the world could create massive waves on the other.
When exiting a relationship, do what you can to have peace by looking for what it is you can be grateful for, this in turn will create a sense of happiness which impacts well-being.
Perspective is merely the story you tell yourself, alter your perspective by looking for gratitude and that will alter your story.
One must never carry left over negativity into our next relationship…honestly ask yourself how do you see that relationship thriving when you carry such a burden??
Be Extraordinary 🙂
The hardest part about having joint custody of the kids after a breakup (via iVillage Australia) >> http://bit.ly/15rwLMF
My response to the above blog and how can you create a positive co-parenting relationship with your ‘ex’..
I too am one of the lucky ones, am I lucky or did we create what we have?? I actually know we created what we have, when my childrens father and I went separate ways we decided that no matter what is going on between us – we put our children first.
Granted both parties here had a vested interest though the journey was no joyride initially. It took an extreme amount of maturity to stand by our decision and that we did (most of the time). I felt he couldn’t look at me for a long time, though time healed that and we both grew to see that we both played a part in the end of us as a couple. So we un-coupled and yet we remain a family. 8 years on and with the add ons of new partners and step children our family has grown substantially.
At the end of the the day, it comes down to choice and the decisions you make on how you act and who you show up as. It does make it a challenge when one parent struggles with the concept of separation etc – my approach was to ALWAYS go back with love and respect, no matter how tough it got. Not to say I compromised myself – I had done this enough within my relationship…though I chose my responses wisely and held my tongue.
What we have today is ‘the ideal’, we are one big family caring for little people who live with the consequences of their parents decisions. We were just two people who just couldn’t get their shit together being together though two people who love their children very much. I am a mother who knows how important their father is in the life, he’s a good man, I had children with him afterall and loved him, so why would I do anything to stop him from seeing his kids.
So, always feel into your decisions and make a choice that comes from love, no matter how this is received, keep doing this, put your children first, deal with your crap somewhere else and work out what part you played and your responsibility so it doesn’ happen again in your next relationship, go out and create your own life…most of all, love and appreciate the other parent for simply being your childrens mother or father…no other adult will love your child as much as you – other than them.
Do your best to always be your best ! I would love to hear from you if you too have a story to share or maybe you would like some help too in acheiveing an extraodinary co-parenting arrangement!
“Because of the structure of our brains, women have the ability to shift ways of thinking and being almost instantaneously. We don’t need the transition time that being single focused requires. This includes switching from masculine to feminine ways of being; once we have ownership of both kinds, we can shift from one to the other. This is the source of women’s belief that an emasculated man will become feminine. This is inaccurate; he doesn’t switch from masculine to feminine. Rather, when a man is emasculated, he becomes inert. It’s like pushing a pause button on his power, his creativity, his accountability and his participation. Sadly, he will remain this way until there is an opening, an authentic invitation, for him to be masculine, generative, and providing.” – Alison Armstrong
Scenario posted on Facebook today – “I cheated on my wife! It was just a way out to get out of the mundane life we’d created. I love her, but I don’t love the life we’ve had. I want to ‘start again’, but she’s too bruised to even think about being with me. How can I make her understand it from my side?”
Others responses included alot of finger pointing, judgement and harsh comments…
First we must appreciate that people go against their values to fill their needs. This is not about trust, wedding vows, broken promises nor ‘cheating’…whatever that is exactly. This is about a person not having their needs met and most likely in this scenario both parties are not having their needs met. As human beings we operate from 6 basic needs first and foremost…then on top of that we have our values, based on our rules we have set for ourselves which is based on our environment, core beliefs of self etc then not to mention our hierarchy of needs. Which without any of our needs being met, we seek it out in order to meet it. So if he was lacking connection/love as a need and even though as a value he is committed to his wife, his need comes first…so then say he’s out, gets a little ongoing attention from a lady (maybe he doesn’t get at home anymore) and ‘BAM’ he goes into fill my need mode…Does he feel good about it? Hell NO, he has gone against his values which are made up of his rules….a constant battle, though his human need has been fulfilled (for now). Now, I am not suggesting this is his way to cop out, though as people we are completely responsible for the choices we make, both parties are responsible for the way they BE in each others company…be it mundane…maybe and quite possibly she has filled any of her unmet needs another way – we don’t get to hear that side. In an ideal world, we are all enlightened and needs do not exist…though we are human and this is a looooong way off. I am in no way suggesting this is easy though we must appreciate that there are always two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle is the truth! Don’t be so quick to judge – judgement comes from your own rules which make up your own values…As Nicole suggests he must find peace so he can operate from love….see what happens!! Maybe this is the wake up call their mundane life needed!!!
As we get older, some may think that the pool is shrinking and potential partners are getting lesser and lesser, this is scarcity at its best. The thing this planet has is plenty of people….thus, there is no scarcity of potential partners. The challenge is not in finding one the challenge is sorting, and how fast can you sort through the possibilities.
It is imperative that you know what you want, be clear on your dating purpose, know what your dealbreakers are (stick to them) and be upfront about it ALL!
If you can have these conversations, this is an abundant way of being! This can be uncomfortable to begin with, though not as uncomfortable as having to end things…
Once you really know what you want and start having these conversations early and I mean early IE in your ‘about me’ section on a dating site and/or the first phone call though definitely the first ‘date’…do this and the faster you will sort! Personally speaking I was really ‘ok’ about being me and being solo – life was sweet and so I knew that if I were to add someone to the equation then it had to be someone who would value add and vice versa! I was very clear about what I could bring and knew what I wanted, I was clear on my dealbreakers and so he would decide very quickly if he could handle my heat (so to speak)…my partner today will tell you he felt like he was being interrogated, though he loved my willingness to be honest – this was refreshing!
When you create the space and be clear about who you are, what you want and where you are going – it gives the other party permission to be clear and open. It may not be you they end up with, though what you have created is the space for the other party to perhaps date more honestly in the future.
And…as a result we could have more people dating authentically which could possibly lead to longer lasting fulfilling relationships!
How nice! 🙂
My question to someone uncertain if they are in the right relationship for them is; when you are thinking about your future that you have full power to create, do you see them in it? And…my next question is, when you really sit down and think about how you want to feel when you are married/committed some day… share with me what that feels like and do you feel like this when you are with him?
The past is best left there, in the past all you have is NOW and your power to create the future….so consider the questions I have asked you above, know that there are millions of potential possibilities out there for you…get clear on what it is you want from a partner and relationship and then go for it. If they do not fit your picture, then let them go so they too can fulfill their own picture. With a clear picture you will attract the person that is right for you.
Always BE genuine, honest and open. If you maintain this, it will keep you on track.
Questions determine everything you do in life, form your abilities to your relationships to your income. Many people fail to commit to a relationship simply becasue they keep asking questions that create doubt “What if there’s somebody better out there?” and “What if I commit myself and miss out?”. This fuels the fire that keeps you thinking the grass is greener and prevents you from enjoying what is already in your life…Sometimes these same people destroy the relationships they do have with more disempowering questions: “How come you always do this to me?” What if I leave right now, how would that make you feel?”…Compare these questions to “How did I get so lucky to have you in my life?”, “What do I love more about my partner today?” “How much richer will our lives be as a result of our relationship?”
This is not to say that one must settle, far from it actually. I found myself in a situation where I was offered the greatest job some years ago doing exactly what I wanted to do with an International company, I turned it down because I hadn’t heard back from all my options…I guess you know what happened. I took the job that ended up being not so fulfilling, I thought the grass was greener! Maybe if I asked myself, “How lucky am I to have been offered my dream job?” and “How richer will my life be as a result of me being in this job?”…AND, I have definetly thought the grass could be greener when it cam to commitment…it was 5 years of self reflection and growth that now I look at my relationship today with everyone, mostly my partner and am ever so grateful, knowing that my life is so enriched!
“The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your communication and the quality of communication is determined by the quality of your qestions…” Anthony Robbins