What I Wish I Would Have Known About Co-Parenting After My MN DivorceFeb 07, 2023
This week I had the pleasure of talking with Janet Price, a co-parenting expert and divorce coach. Janet was a product of a high-conflict divorce from her parents, and then upon having children of her own, she and her husband's communication struggles became apparent, which led to a divorce. Janet is unique in the fact that she was also in a high conflict co-parenting situation. Her and her ex were never able to communicate and had very different values on raising children. The following tips can help whether you have a smooth co-parenting relationship or a tumultuous one during your MN divorce. Rest assured no matter how diverse your parenting styles are you can still raise resilient well adjusted children.
For ten years, Janet went through an extremely high-conflict divorce resulting in multiple court hearings and a no-contact order placed on her by a judge due to being accused of sexually abusing her children. Aside from the struggles, Janet has a strong relationship with her children, and she has started helping others moderate and work through high-conflict divorces.
Janet shared four things she wished she had known going through a high-conflict divorce. It took her ten years to work on healing and realize these lessons and how much she triggered her co-parent. She recognized that she had all the power in the world to avoid co-parenting conflict.
Co-parenting only sometimes means there will be good communication and cooperation.
Co-parenting simply means that there are two parents. There is a spectrum of co-parenting relationships between two people, but it does not always mean it will be civil. Sometimes, it is in the children's best interest if the parents don’t try to push for the perfect co-parenting relationship. Instead, they just communicate on items crucial to the children (doctor's appointments, sports, and decisions about the kids). The most important thing co- parents need to figure out is how to help the children learn to grow and thrive into healthy adults.
Co-parenting does not happen just because the papers are signed.
Just because you live in two households now does not mean that communication issues are resolved. It’s almost impossible to co-parent, mediate and agree on everything. As time passes, co-parents will learn the new skill of working together. It takes a lot of work and practice, being thoughtful, and knowing what your self-needs are.
Know your parenting values.
It’s essential to understand that you and your co-parent are single parents. The two adults may not align on parenting values; you’ll have different ways of doing things. First and foremost, define your values, and then work on where you are in the spectrum of cooperation with your co-parent if any align.
If you have completely different values in how you parent, rest assured that your children will be OK if they have one strong, emotionally healthy, solid values parent to help guide them in their life. It's ok to share your values with your children and help raise them with your values in your household. And you don't have to say anything about the other parent.
A benefit of differing values is that children learn to build resilience. They get to see different options of how things are done and choose the one that will benefit them the best as they become adults.
Be intentional about your future.
What do you envision your life and relationship with your children to look like ten years from now? Take that vision into mediation and try to co-parent from a place of positivity.
At the end of the day, remember there is no one-size-fits-all for co-parenting relationships. Some co-parents can maintain friendships and have holidays together, while others should only communicate about the children's needs. It is better for your children to experience two positive homes than to watch their parents fight over decisions.
If you seek assistance in a Minnesota Divorce, please reach out so I can help you work through mediation.
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