Navigating Co-Parenting after your MN DivorceOct 05, 2023
Navigating a co-parenting relationship after your MN divorce can have so many different aspects and emotions that go along with it. To name a few:
- Learning how to navigate being parents without being in a relationship
- setting boundaries
- understanding parallel parenting
- determining how to stay in your own lane while supporting your child
Tools that assist with these aspects are all greatly beneficial when entering co-parenting after divorce. This week on the podcast, I was thankful to have marriage and family therapist Diane Dirks and mediator Rick Voyles on the podcast to cover all of these topics.
We started the episode by talking about clients who are able to come to the table and be ready to switch from their marriage and transition into the business of being parents together. I am often blessed with clients who are able to meet in a place where they want to have a great co-parenting relationship. Sadly, that is not always the case when going through a divorce. If communicating in your marriage was difficult, you aren’t going to magically be great at communicating after your divorce. This is where parallel parenting comes into play.
Diane and Rick talked about the three different types of co-parenting: cooperative co-parenting, conflict co-parenting, and parallel co-parenting. Rick had a great saying that parallel parenting means “I’m a parent, you’re a parent, we’re not parents together. I have my lane, you have your lane, and our number one goal is to stay out of that conflict style because it’s the conflict that hurts the children.” They went on to talk about the fact that kids don’t suffer because of lack of cooperation, they instead suffer when there is the presence of conflict.
The #1 thing that helps with parallel parenting is how the co-parents communicate. Rick and Diane’s communication protocol talks about doing all communication in terms of business. This means once a week (or whatever you agree on), there is a time and way to communicate with one another regarding the children. This could be an email every Sunday where you discuss what’s going on with the kids, any upcoming appointments, etc. If a parent is pushing to talk outside of those hours, it’s essential to set boundaries and let them know you’ll talk about this during the decided communication time. If you are finding your ex-spouse is always asking to change schedules, use the parenting plan to say “no, we have to stick to the parenting plan.” That takes the emotion out of you saying no, and reminds the co-parent that you are doing what you legally agreed to, and what ultimately benefits the child(ren).
Remember, your kids will not remember who had how many days of a school break, but they will remember if you had a huge blow out fight about it. Pick your battles, and when it comes down to it, ask yourself what your children will remember 10 years from now. Create a vision for your co-parenting, and stick to that vision as much as you can. They’ll thank you for it when they are older, and you can move through your co-parenting relationship knowing that you are sticking to what you feel is best.
Check out Rick and Diane’s website and grab their FREE sample court order and workshop workbook that they’ve provided for Doing Divorce Different listeners. Their podcast Co-Parent Dilemmas is a great resource to listen to while you go through the divorce process. If you are looking for mediation support in the Minnesota area, please reach out for your free consultation. Share my wonderful resources with any friends you think would find them useful as well. I’m on a mission to help as many people as I can.
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