This time of year can be especially challenging for ex couples who are embarking on co-parenting as a result of a relationship breakdown. The following tips can help parents navigate their way through a potentially challenging time of the year so that everyone- especially the children can have a stress free festive season where they get to spend quality time with their parents.
- Put your differences aside– Rise above! Despite your personal feelings and all the water under the bridge, put your feelings aside and try to ensure that your children do not feel the stress of your relationship breakdown.
- Plan ahead– think about your plan and make arrangements in advance, checking in with the other parent. Do not ask your children to choose. Decide what’s fair for you both.
- Communicate– either via phone or face to face and follow it up with an email. That way you have something in writing for you both to refer to. No miscommunications and your children don’t have to relay plans to the other parent.
- Be respectful to the other parent- don’t talk about the other parent’s shortcomings in front of the children. We all have them and there’s a reason (or reasons) why you two aren’t together anymore, your child doesn’t need to have to deal with listening to that. Say what you want to anyone who will listen, but don’t involve your kids.
- Be equal parents– kids need boundaries to feel secure and it’s not fair f one parent opts to play the fun one all the time. This can result in the other parent feeling as though they have to hold firmer boundaries and play the tough parent. Not good for anyone as it can lead to an imbalance in the relationship for your child and resentment on the part of the parent.
- Try mediation- it can help you draw up a workable plan for you both to refer to. You could talk together about consistency of parenting, boundary holding, consequences, household chores, contact with the other parent. And so much more.
- Counselling– if you’re finding that you’re becoming over whelmed by strong negative feelings that are getting in the way of you parenting your child (ren) equally, counselling can help you.
Remember: What’s important here is that your children feel happy, secure and loved by you both.
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