Did you make a list this year? No, not of the gifts you wanted, but of your resolutions for the new year. Did parenting make the list? Parenting is a hard enough task as it is. Co-parenting throws some extra complications into the picture. As you start the New Year, consider these resolutions and make determinations in your relationship with your partner for a meaningful 2020.
Be Patient Through Changes
One way you can support your kids is being patient through changes, both with your kids and with yourself. Separation, co-parenting; none of it is easy. Be patient with your children and give them the time they need to process and understand any changes 2020 brings. Be patient with yourself and the processes at play.
Let Go of Things You Can’t Control
In co-parenting, control is a bit of a paradox. You’ve probably felt the urge to be more in control while at the same time felt like you’re losing control over your kids. In 2020, learn to be okay with letting go. The truth is, there will be dozens of situations outside your power to control. Schedules will change, plans will fail, and well, people will be people. All you can really control is your own attitude and reactions to the curveballs life throws your way. Remember your reactions will also model resilience for your children!
Commit to Effectively Communicating with Your Co-Parent
When co-parents fail or refuse to communicate, not only does it cause undue stress for the parents, but the children also suffer by either missing out on opportunities or taking on the role of communication conduit between their parents. Important information, deadlines, appointments, and schedules for children ought to be made available to each of the parents on a timely basis. Email and shared calendars are useful tools, but for some parents, formal apps and software such as Our Family Wizard (www.ourfamilywizard.ca) can also make timely and clear communication much easier for co-parents.
Commit to Paying Child Support
One resolution to stick to is paying child support. While your physical and emotional presence in your kids’ life matters a great deal, financial support is important too. Child support helps your children in practically every area of their life, enabling them to do more at school, in their extracurriculars, and having more security at home. Wondering how much you’ll have to pay? Use this child support calculator to find out.
Consider the State of Your Relationship
All the resolutions so far work whether you’re divorced or not. If you’re separated but not divorced, another resolution should be to consider the state of your relationship. What’s working? What isn’t? Sometimes co-parenting is harder when you’re only separated as opposed to divorced. It may be weird to think of divorce as a resolution, but often, it’s the best thing that can happen for your kids, especially when separation begins to breed more stress.
You may find after evaluating your situation that separation isn’t working and divorce is a logical path forward. What do you do next? Make it a resolution to meet with divorce lawyers. This meeting will help you explore options going forward like whether to pursue additional mediation and arbitration, or whether you need a formalized separation agreement.