One of the hardest things in Divorcing, or just even separating from an ex for a parent is the thought that they now have to share their time with their children. That now they may not see their children as much as they had in the past, surely it does not help prevent resentment towards their ex-counterpart from growing, in fact it does the opposite.
I remember being told as I sat in family court once that the ticket to get in is not currency based, but anger. It didn’t resonate with me then, but boy does that hit a nerve with me now, because it’s one hundred percent accurate.
Don’t get me wrong,
in rare cases ex-couples can come up with a parenting agreement and may just be bringing it to court to have it formally recorded,
and if you are that rare couple then you’re a better person than I am.
We are parents, we have been since the day our children were born.
As they took their first breath,
we took our last gasp of an easy,
and within seconds our lives were consumed by the little squishy alien looking excuse for a child.
Call it parental instinct,
call it what you may,
but our number one job after that point in time is to protect our child,
whatever may be a possible threat.
Well sometimes our perceptions are skewed,
especially in instances like separation or divorce.
As humans we often think that because we feel a certain way,
everyone else must automatically feel the same way.
I often visit such thoughts when I am driving, and I pass a hearse, here I am having a great day, my children in the back seat laughing, and just feet away from us, is a corpse on their way to their final resting place. Following behind said deceased person is a family, and surely friends going through what may be the saddest, hardest, moment in their life.
Yet, here we are all on the same road way, all driving in the same direction, all feeling different emotions, sure the hearse driving next to me is not carrying my loved one but when a couple divorces, the children aren’t experiencing the loss that the couple is either, they are simply along for the ride.
Children get caught in the middle all too often feeling as if they need to choose a size. They love both of their parents equally, and have no reason to feel impartial to one over the other. Try not to entertain a game of tug of war when it comes to your stepchildren, your ultimately your spouse’s place to vent, and although it is great to listen and just allow them to get their feelings out, it’s important to try to be the voice of reason especially when it is regarding the best interest of the children at hand. I always found it best to stay out of it, but sometimes that is the equivalent of witnessing a robbery and doing nothing to prevent it. If you can help prevent further damage, than do so. If you don’t feel that you can get involved without being biased than don’t. The last thing your spouse needs is someone pouring fuel on the fire.
When it comes to visitation, and custody no two cases are ever the same. What may have been set for one family, may be impossible for another family. Visitation, and custody vary from case to case, depending on what is in best interest for the children. An important factor to remember when it comes to any family court case is that no matter what the case is, as long as the parent is willing and able to see the children, and not a risk factor to the children, than accommodations should be arranged to do so. It is important for the children to have a strong relationship with each parent.
Step parents really only have one role when it comes to the custody and visitation battle, and that is to stay out of it. No matter what the emotional role that you play in your step children’s life may be, the court is very easy to view the step parent as a road block. One may even be accused of trying to alienate the biological parent. If your presence must be there, do so in a silent manner. It is really best to allow your spouse and their ex to duke it out on their own.
When a visitation agreement is concluded, abide by it, and encourage your spouse to do the same. It can be very tempting to start re-arranging dates to accommodate your needs, and family functions, but ensuring consistency is the most important thing, especially in the beginning.
Thanks for reading, have a question? Comment? want to vent? Please do so below!
Sara, Mommsie Knows Best
When parent’s split the automatic pressure is co-parenting. You must learn it, love it, and do it. No If’s, and’s, or but’s. The assumption is even if you can’t co-parent in a healthy manner that you have to find a way to do so.
News flash… those people who are telling you so need to pull their heads out of their misinformed A**es.
Don’t get me wrong, Co-parenting is ideal. So is candy for dinner, world peace, heck me being back into a size 5 is ideal. So while ideal is nice and all, Ideal is not always realistic.
Your marriage ended. For whatever reason it ended. Whether you just couldn’t tolerate one another, or infidelity was the answer for one or the other, or you both mutually agreed the relationship came to a halt. It’s over.
Unfortunately for us… we all know “first comes love, than comes marriage, than come a baby in the baby carriage” but than what… what happens when it all comes crashing down. Truth is no one really knows. Think about it… divorce wasn’t an actual thing until the 1950’s so the path is still being paved.
Now, if it was a mutual agreement co-parenting may be all good and well, but what happens to those that were abandoned, or traded in for a newer younger model? What about those couples? Do therapists and courts really expect the hard feelings to be put aside?
By definition Co-parenting is a parenting situation where two parents work together to raise a child even though they are not living together, this includes making decisions together.
Parallel parenting is when “each parent agrees to parent their child effectively, parenting “next to” one another rather than “with” each other. Minor issues concerning the children are not communicated about. However, each parent does provide the other parent with “important information” about the children, without debating about the parenting plan or either one’s style of parenting.” (Bell, 2017).
I often though that co-parenting automatically meant shared custody. This isn’t always true. You can co-parent even when one parent has sole legal custody. Bringing the other parent in to help make decisions, and help out with the child does nothing more than show the child that mommy and daddy are still working together, and that there is no pressure on the child regarding their relationship with their parent’s.
Believe me, I get it. Co-parenting isn’t always a choice. Honestly that’s okay. If you can’t necessarily tolerate one another than parallel parenting is probably the better option for you. This simply means that only the big things get spoken about, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be verbal communication. Emails, text’s and parenting notebooks work great too.
As I always say at end of the day the main goal is making the child happy, and ensuring that the child-parent relationships are being fostered to be the best that they can be.
Bell, D. A. (2017, February 15). The Definition and Merits of Parallel Parenting. Retrieved from Drallisonbell.com: http://drallisonbell.com/collaborative-artlcles/the-definition-and-merits-of-parallel-parenting/
Any questions? Need to vent? I would love to hear from you
Sara, Mommsie Knows Best