Conscious Co-parenting: Do It for the Kids

by Donya B

conscious coparentingIn the past week, I’ve run across different versions of this scenario, so I thought I’d share it with you… Co-Parenting.  It’s a new title that’s come to life in the last 15 years or so, but is a concept as old as time.  You share a child with someone, but you aren’t a couple.  You’re co-parents.  This is a different kind of relationship that I have yet to get into here, but is certainly worthy of a nod.

The Co-parenting Mix

There are quite a few relationships involved in co-parenting.  There’s the primary parent/child, secondary parent/child, primary/secondary parent, parents/new partners, parent/co-parent’s partner and child/parents’ partners…  That’s a huge web and we’re not even going to get into siblings.  But if you do have more than one child, thus more than one web, you’ve really got your hands full!  How on earth do you juggle the issues that come with each of these relationships and keep your sanity (well, most of it) all at the same time?   Prayer.  Meditation.  Hyperbaric chamber.  Whatever form of quietude that works for you.  But overall, peace – and consciously working to achieve it daily – is the key.

I have a good relationship with my co-parents.  I know it’s an anomaly in this day and age, but it’s true.  We converse civilly, we share information openly about our child, and our time and support arrangement works beautifully.  I can’t complain.  We differ slightly on parenting styles, but overall, we’re a very cohesive unit.  Unfortunately, not everyone can say they’re at that point.  Fathers who don’t show up for their weekends, mothers who don’t let the child speak to their father because he hasn’t sent a check, stepdads that disregard the children, stepmoms that can’t speak a good word about the birth mom… It’s sad, it’s infuriating, sometimes it’s downright ridiculous the way these “adults” carry on!

Co-parenting Consciously

If there is one soapbox I can stand on, it’s this: Children are smarter than we give them credit for and they are resilient sponges that become mirrors of their parents.  So take heed to these tips for co-parenting consciously:

  1. Money and the love of a child are not the same thing.  If he’s not sending money, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his child.  If he has time to spend with him/her, accept that!  Your child will appreciate the time and positive relationship far more than the money, and that’s what matters.
  2. Children are not pawns.  Your child is your life. Cherish that.  The relationship you build with them is nurtured by the things you do and say around them.  Using them to “get back at” your X does nothing but weaken, if not destroy, your relationship in the long run.
  3. Communication is the key in every relationship, especially this one.  The way you speak to your X around your children is the way your children will perceive your X.  If you speak to her like she’s stupid, your children will come to see her as weak and stupid.  If you don’t even speak to him, they will think its okay not to speak to him.  Give each parent their due respect.  It is just as important to watch what you say as it is to watch how you say it!
  4. Realize that you are no more perfect than your X.  Yes, she screwed up royally, but that doesn’t make her a bad mother.  Yes, he made a huge mess out of things, but that doesn’t mean you’re always right.  You both made and will continue to make mistakes.  Neither of you gets to wear the crown because at some point, it’s going to fall off of your head too.  Put the focus on being the best you can be for your child and dump the rest.  This time, it really isn’t all about you.

These are just a few of the ways I maintain the peace with my co-parents. Do you have any suggestions for other ways to improve the co-parenting relationship? Please share them in the comments.

Two,

Ms. De

About Donya:

Donya Vaughn is a So Cal native, collegiate of San Diego State University and graduate of the University of Life, mastering in “Wow, That Was Harder Than It Needed To Be”. Known to her close friends as “The Walking Encyclopedia”, Donya prides herself in being helpful, knowledgeable and ready to serve. She uses these traits along with unwavering optimism and Christian good spirit regularly as owner and consultant of As You Like… Wedding & Event Services.

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