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New Year, New Co-Parenting. Three Resolutions for a Challenging Co-Parent

With the year ending and a new one off to a fresh start, many people’s minds go to New Year’s resolutions. Of those, perhaps the most common are about managing money and losing weight. However, have you considered making some changes to how you manage co-parenting?

Tips to Improving your Co-Parenting Relationship:

While co-parenting can definitely be challenging, a strong relationship will make a world of difference for you and your children. Consider the following co-parenting tips and resolutions to help you and your family see happier days:

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1. Disengage where necessary.

If confronted by ongoing and unfounded accusations to which you constantly argue, consider no longer engaging. Stop offering defensive statements which seem to only serve to continue the distressing dialogue. This is about setting a boundary. While you may not get the other to stop this form of harassment, you can choose to disengage. This is done without fanfare and recognizing that to do so will in the short run be met with an increase of barrages to re-engage you. The resolution would be about managing your own triggers, to remain disengaged.

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2. You can only be responsible for yourself.

Many parents take on the job of maintaining the parent-child relationship on behalf of the co-parent. To this end, they bend over backwards to accommodate multiple changes to the schedule and will often chase the other parent to have time with their kids. The challenge here is to recognize that your co-parent’s relationship with the kids is their responsibility, not yours. As such, you can lead a life better organized by the existing schedule and having alternate plans in place for those inevitable disappointments when that other parent fails to follow through with their parenting time. The resolution here is about you running your life, letting your co-parent run theirs and allowing the kids to develop a realistic view of the other parent as a result, as opposed to a fantasy view that over time, erodes.

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3. Learning New Coping Strategies.

You know those bad feelings you have been carrying about your co-parent? Those feelings can be toxic and like mold. They can seep into other aspects of your life – even your own parenting. Your ex may forever be a less than likeable parent; however, it may be time to let go of the anger, accept what is and simply find new strategies to cope with what comes your way. When we come to terms with life as is versus what we would hope for it to be, our realistic perspective can lead us to have better management of the situation in the moment. The resolution here can be about considering counseling with a co-parent consultant or coach. This would not be about talking about your feelings, but rather learning strategies to manage a challenging situation more productively. This is about you developing more sophisticated management skills of oneself as well as the other.

Here’s to the New Year:

Welcome to the New Year. While we can’t promise your co-parent was eagerly waiting for this clean slate to make changes your co-parenting relationship, you can be the one to make a difference. Look to yourself and see what you can do to improve the situation for you and your family. Here’s to a New Year and some New Co-Parenting tips.

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