The New Year brings a lot of resolutions that fall by the wayside within a short period. We challenge you to change that mindset and put your children first in the New Year. Make the resolution to be a better co-parent and stick to it! Focus on co-parenting and reducing conflict to help your child live a happy life, free to love both parents.
It is natural when parents end their relationship that children are confused. Thus, it is a parent’s job to ensure that the child knows it is okay to love both parents. An adult relationship ending does not end the relationship that the child is going to have with both parents. So, use both verbal and non-verbal cues to send positive messages about the other parent to the child. There must have been some redeeming quality that the other parent had when you decided to have children with the person, so make sure the child knows those qualities.
- Keep a photograph of the other parent in the child’s bedroom. It might be difficult for you, but it is not always about you! It is about making sure this little person you created knows and feels loved. A simple photograph of the other parent in their bedroom sends a message that it is okay to love that parent.
- Do not badmouth the other parent! The child knows they are a product of both you and the other parent. If you are saying bad things about the other parent, the child may infer that means you think badly of the child.
- If the child tells you the other parent said something bad about you, curb your reaction. Do not say anything negative, try to turn it into a positive, make sure to keep facial expressions in check. Since the child has shared something about the other parent’s house, you should keep that information to yourself and not address it with the other parent unless it becomes a continual issue. By addressing it with the other parent, you may create a situation where the other parent punishes the child for sharing the information. In turn, the child may be less likely to share something in the future.
- Look at the Orders you have from the Court. Buy a calendar and put it together for the year so you know when it is your time to exercise holidays with the child and you can plan ahead. Ask the other parent, don’t tell the other parent, if a copy of the calendar would be helpful.
- In contacts on your cellphone, use a respectful name for the other parent.
- Besides buying a calendar, if there is conflict between you and other parent, consider buying a low cost notebook and documenting things in date order like a journal. This might be helpful in the future.
- In communication with you co-parent, do not send anything when upset or angry. Let the communication set for a couple of hours and then come back, reread it and make sure anything inflammatory is removed.
Hopefully you have found these tips useful so that you can begin 2023 on the right path focusing on having a healthy relationship with your co-parent.