Parents’ Day is celebrated throughout the United States after President Clinton established it into law in 1994 by signing a Congressional Resolution for “recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.” This year, it was celebrated on July 23rd.
Supporting the role of your ex as a co-parent can certainly be a challenging goal. It is not uncommon for those parents to harbor resentful thoughts like: Dad doesn’t seem to want to spend time with the child; the child doesn’t even want to spend time with Dad; Mom never encourages the child to spend time with me; Dad doesn’t even pay his child support; Mom never uses my child support payments for the child.
Unfortunately, the parents then pass these negative feelings and thoughts onto the children. However, the laws and the courts have stated clearly parents are expected to foster a good relationship with both parents.
Every divorced family has conflict and challenges. You are expected, however, to find a way to communicate and empathize with each other despite the conflict and challenges. You must dig deep to find a way to put the best interests of your children over your personal needs and positions – even when your co-parent is not doing that.
How do you foster a good relationship, though, when you don’t feel so good about your co-parent?
View your relationship as co-parents as a business. Your children are the product of your business, and as a business owner, you want the best product you can produce. Avoid putting your children in the middle and reassure your children they are not responsible for either parent’s behavior.
Here is a checklist for appreciating your ex as a co-parent:
- I recently met with a client who told me “I can’t make him be the parent I want him to be.” Accept that you and your ex do things differently. Usually it’s not right or wrong, it’s just different. Embrace the differences so your children can benefit from both relationships.
- Promote your ex to the children. Reassure your children your ex loves them and has not abandoned them.
- Encourage your children to remember your ex on special occasions.
- Be considerate and respectful of each other. Don’t have your children be the messenger between you. Don’t have your children handle the scheduling between your homes.
- Support your ex’s decisions in front of the children.
- Avoid expressing your own negative feelings about your co-parent to the children; rather, listen patiently to the children and express hopeful feelings for improvement.
- When speaking of your co-parent, maintain a positive, or at least a neutral, tone.
- Don’t use your children as weapons against your ex for past bad behavior by denying parenting time, by making plans that interfere with parenting time, and by not adhering to the schedule that’s been arranged.
Serving Southwest Florida