by Michael Garner, One-eighty Counseling
Life did not turn out the way you had expected it. You are heart-broken, angry, and for some, maybe even a little relieved that the relationship is over. Your ‘happily ever after’ story has ended in a separation. However difficult, you know you still have to work together with your ex regarding your children. Being a single parent is not easy, and can be down right exhausting at times. It is hard knowing you have less time with your children while also knowing you have ‘no control’ over what happens at the other house. This can be extremely frustrating and anxiety provoking. However, with some help, the co-parenting relationship may help lighten the load. Remember a few key points when it comes to co-parenting.
1. The relationship ended, not your role as a parent
2. Your primary focus has to shift
3. You can still co-parent successfully, despite your differences
4. Never put the kids in the middle
5. Say only positive things about your child’s other co-parent
The relationship has ended, but your role as a parent has not. You still have a high responsibility to help raise your kids to the best of your ability. Your attention now shifts to your children. This will be a trying time for everyone, but you have to focus on what is best for your children as well as taking care of yourself. Despite the frustrations of the events, you have to do what is best for the kids and be willing to put aside your differences to focus on the children. Protect your children, allow your kids to be kids and never put them in the middle of your conflict. They have enough going on as they attempt to figure out this new normal. Finally, one of the most important pieces is to stay positive and keep the negativity away from your children. All the negativity may unknowingly push them away from you.
As you can see, being a single parent can be extremely difficult, but if both parents can put their differences aside and mutually agree to do what is best for their children, you will see tremendous results. Your children will adapt to this change much quicker and with more security and comfort knowing that both parents continue to love and care for them.