Though it’s easy to get caught up in the feelings surrounding a broken relationship, when a child is involved, it’s important to put those emotions aside and focus on the best interest of the child. Just recently, I had a conversation with a close friend, who is experiencing what many single parents endure when navigating through the wonderful world of co-parenting:
- Lack of consistency
- Power struggle
- Respecting boundaries
- Conditional support
In an ideal world, co-parenting would look a little something like this:
- “Equal partnership in raising your child, with both parents providing financial help (no questions asked) – whether married or not.” But, that’s not always the case.
Sometimes, you’ll have to co-parent with someone who claims you are using your child as a pawn – yet they don’t call, make plans to visit, or consistently support the child financially. Other times, you’ll deal with a parent who doesn’t want to respect boundaries. For example, they may say that the only way they can come see the child is if you put them up – despite the mixed messages you’ve expressed it will send to your child. More times than others, getting any type of aid – something as simple as a pair of sneakers – will be like pulling out your wisdom teeth – a MF pain.
So, how does one co-parent like a grownup, in spite of the constant drama?
Keep the peace no matter what: I’m not going to lie; over-the-years, I have really struggled with this point. When someone is intentionally trying to push your buttons (looking for a reaction), you’ll likely feel the urge to pop back. Only, that quick-witted retort is hurting no one but yourself.
Avoid getting trapped in a fiery storm of tit-for-tat texts and redirect the conversation back to what’s important – the child’s emotional, physical and mental health, which begins with witnessing their parents respecting one another.