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 that list? Parenting is a difficult enough task as it is. Co-parenting throws some extra complications into the picture. As you start the New Year, consider adding these resolutions to your list to make intentional changes in your relationship with your partner and your children.
Be Patient Through Changes
One way you can support your kids is by being patient through change, both with your kids and with yourself. Separation, co-parenting; none of it is easy to navigate. By being patient with your children you’ll allow them the time and space they need to process and understand any change that may occur. By being patient with yourself, you’ll allow the room to process thoughts and emotions you may be feeling.
Let Go of Things You Can’t Control
In co-parenting, control is a bit of a paradox. You probably feel the urge to be more in control, while at the same time feeling like you’re losing control over your kids. This year, learn to be okay with letting go. The truth is, there will be dozens of situations outside your control. Schedules will change, plans will fail, and your adaptability will be put to the test. All you can really do is control 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
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship. Poor communication causes undue stress for the parents, and 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 should be made available to each of the parents in a timely manner basis. Email and shared calendars are useful tools to consider, but for some co-parents, formal apps and software such as Our Family Wizard can also make timely and clear communication much easier to achieve
Commit to Paying Child Support
ne resolution to stick to is paying child support. While your physical and emotional presence in your child’s 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 should be providing? Use this child support calculator to find out.
Consider the State of Your Relationship
All the resolutions we’ve shared 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? What changes can be made? Sometimes co-parenting is harder when you’re only separated as opposed to being 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 create 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 can help you explore options going forward like whether to pursue additional mediation and arbitration, or whether you need a formalized separation agreement.