MOM AND DAUGHTERWe’re on a journey. Not too long ago, co-parenting was a foreign concept. Actually divorce, separation, having children outside of wedlock and single parenting, outside of a spouse dying were frowned upon, unacceptable, detestable, well you get the picture.

Society at large didn’t approve. People stayed in marriages when they were unhappy. And, if you made the bold move of leaving, it usually meant you left everything. The furniture, the television, the dog and unfortunately, your children. Instead of leaving some men opted for mistresses and women, well they found ways to deal. Then, something happened. The women’s liberation movement came. And they said “we’re going big or going home”. Needless to say, they changed the game.

The empowerment of women was in motion. A few that were unfulfilled in their situation sacrificed their “good name” for many. They demanded that they stopped being abused, have rights to vote, endure no more sexual harrassment, have equal pay, receive more help at home and more. There have actually been three waves of this movement, starting back in the 18th century. I suspect we have not seen the last of them. In the meantime the existing effects of these movements live on.

So, here we are. While it is not what most hope for, more and more “once were” couples find themselves doing so. Our generation of co-parenting rookies is still in training; trying to figure out the rules to raise the healthiest, best and well-rounded players. . .our children.  There isn’t a blue print. We’re creating it. I don’t expect that we will ever get it perfect; however there is a lot we can do to minimize the damage to our children.

Here are a few things I have found helpful from my personal experience and other women I’ve spoken to.

  1. Open the lines of communication with everyone. The children need to feel very comfortable giving you both feedback. And you should not be defensive or try to talk them out of how their feeling. Give your ex a little breathing room here also. Allowing them room to voice their opinion on certain things like your frequency of schedule changes, anything solely related to the children, and other things that affect him directly. Try not to take your ex’s feedback personally; although that may be the intention. Take the high road.
  2.  Do not speak ill of your ex in front of the children. I would venture to say that you should only share your issues with close friends and family. You don’t want others or their children letting your children know how much their parents dislike each other. If you’re not on great terms, but can stomach it, try even to speak well of your ex.
  3. No matter what the situation was that ended your relationship, for your own sake, try and release your ex. Sure I don’t know what happened, but I do know that the energy spent on trying to make them pay could be better spent. It’s choice. Make it for you and for your children.

Create the most positive environment possible for your children.