How to Scope Out Opportunities to Parent Together
Raising children from separate households can be tricky, especially if the conflict between parents is a problem. Frequent disputes and tension only make it harder to co-parent on a daily basis–not to mention over holidays or important events like a child's music recitals, graduation, and even their wedding. Even if you and your co-parent have different parenting styles and you don't always find it easy to communicate, showing your children that you are united in caring for their best interests is important. That's why it's helpful to stay on the look out for opportunities to demonstrate this, whether it's a special day or just any other weekday.
While it might feel hard at times to scope out these opportunities to parent together, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you find these moments and make them easier to handle.
Remember That You're Still A Family
Even if you're living apart or practice parallel parenting, the truth is that you're still a family. You, your co-parent, and your children will always maintain a connection that can't simply be broken now that you don't all live together. As parents, you're still both working towards a common goal of raising your kids as best you can. Think about the future and what kinds of childhood memories you'd like your kids to have, what values you'd like to instill in them, and what kind of person you hope they grow into. Discuss these things together with your co-parent and plan for how you can reach your common parenting goals. Also, show your children that you are a united as parents in upholding their best interests and sense of stability. This can be done in several ways, whether you're all together or apart.
Scope Out Opportunities In Everyday Conversations To Show Your Support
As an involved parent, you already do your best to scope out some time each day to connect with your kids. You might have a conversation in the car coming home from school, catch up at the dinner table, recap the day before bed, or even just talk throughout the day. If your kids are with their other parent, you probably still find time to connect by way of phone calls, emails, text messages, or video chats. No matter how you do it, these are great opportunities to remind your children that their parents are still a team. Scope out moments in the conversation where you can tell your child how much both you and their other parent love and care for them. You can also show that you're united as parents by reinforcing something that their other parent said or offering an honest compliment about their other parent. You could even tell a positive story about an experience you had with their other parent once. These little reminders and stories act as reinforcers in the fact that you're all still a family, even if you don't all live together. Scope out and take advantage of these moments as best you can.
Make Time To All Physically Be Together
Special events and holidays are great times to scope out opportunities to come together for your kids. You may already have a parenting schedule in place over holidays and other special dates, but if you can manage, try to carve out some time to spend all together. For example, a parenting time exchange over or near a holiday could be a great time to share a meal or go out for ice cream as a way to celebrate together. For special events like sports games or music recitals, you and your co-parent should both attend as often as possible to show your support for your child and their passions. While it might feel difficult for you to spend time with your former spouse or partner, a little bit of peaceful time spent with both parents together will mean so much to your child.
Scoping out opportunities to come together as parents can be made easier when you a clear picture of family plans. Parents should communicate in such a way that keeps details clear and reduces the risk of confusion or ongoing conflict to occur. For example, using a shared online calendar to document the family agenda can make it much easier for parents to get a glimpse of family plans and scope out times where everyone can come together. When you're not all together, remember to look out for moments where you can demonstrate to your children that you're all still part of a family that supports each other. Doing these things will help to maintain your child's sense of stability as well as help you as parents better reach your common parenting goals.
There are certain exceptions where these suggestions may not be useful, such as in the case where abuse and a child's overall safety is a serious concern. If you find your family in this situation, seek help from a family law professional as soon as possible. Click here to learn more about professional resources in your area.