A woman walked into the firm last week wearing a t-shirt that said, “Don’t
grow up, it’s a trap!” We’ve all had this feeling before.
Many of us have probably seen the sentiment expressed on a t-shirt, a
random sign or a social media post, and most of laugh and think it’s
funny. And it is, until you think about it. Being an adult can be hard
and it’s nice to commiserate and understand that the “hard”
isn’t something reserved exclusively for a few, but that everyone
knows that feeling. Yet sometimes we use that feeling as a crutch that
prevents us from reaching our full potential – that elusive “grown
up” that was so easy to envision back before we were expected to
actually behave that way because we’re all grown now. This phenomenon
of being grown, but not feeling (or necessarily) acting grown up is never
more apparent than when a divorced couple is attempting to co-parent.
This is one of those “adult” situations that just call for
all of us to behave like the grown ups that we are.
Co-Parenting Like a Grown Up:
Have every intention of offering compassion and support in the co-parenting relationship.
- Focus regularly on the positive qualities your ex exhibits as a parent
instead of remembering the negatives in connection with the relationship
between the two of you.
- Mention those positive qualities about your ex to the children. Make it
clear to the kids that you think your ex is a great parent even if you
weren’t great together. This can help the kids understand that they
need both Mom and Dad.
- Deal with any conflict with new partners regarding the co-parenting relationship
yourself. Don’t dump it on your ex. The purpose of the co-parenting
relationship is to do what is best for your kids – keep it focused on that.
- Try to keep in mind how you can make your ex’s life easier without
ignoring any of your own needs/wants. So you aren’t together anymore
– that doesn’t make you enemies. Kindness and understanding
can go a long way towards creating a positive co-parenting relationship
and environment for the kids.
- Observe schedules – keeping to agreed upon arrangements is just as
important as realizing that sometimes flexibility will be necessary. When
plans have to be changed, be gracious and remember how you would like
to be treated if the roles were reversed.
When you break down the advice on how to be a good co-parent, you actually
end up with a lot of the seemingly simple instructions we were all offered
in kindergarten by well meaning teachers that wanted to teach us how to
interact with our peers: be kind, do unto others as you would have them
do unto you, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit, share,
be a good friend, etc. Since then we’ve all done a lot of growing.
We’re a lot taller. But there’s a big difference between growing
and being a grown up. When attempting to create a positive co-parenting
relationship it’s extremely important that you understand that difference
and aim for “grown up.”
For more information on
getting divorced, coping post-divorce or managing a co-parenting plan positively, please
get in touch with the experienced Arizona divorce lawyers at Arizona Family
Law Attorneys today.