If you’re reading this, you want to know the “secret sauce” to co-parenting. I’m sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have it. However, I will share some co-parenting keys that I’ve learned that made for a smoother journey.
1. Remember that you are just one of two people.
Fact check: It takes two to tango! If you’re in the world of co-parenting, you have a partner in parenting. Yes, it also means that you and your partner likely disagree on one or many things. You can’t control what your partner says or does, but you can control how you react. Shift your mindset to value both sides and be proactive in your communication. Oh yeah and give yourself GRACE! Parenting is hard even with married couples, so the conflicts with separated parents are only heightened. Just remember the big picture. Your goal is to do everything for the benefit of your child.
2. Don’t fight fire with fire.
You would think this one is obvious, and maybe it is, but it’s by far the hardest. Your child(ren) is your whole heart, so it is understandable when emotions run high during conflict. However, it’s your choice to speak or stay silent. When your co-parent makes a comment you don’t like or acts in a way that might provoke you, it is best not to react immediately. Step away and process your thoughts and feelings before saying something that may only make matters more tense.
3. Keep the family out of it.
Here’s the thing. Your family is not in your co-parenting relationship. They may be your confidants and your support group, but that does not warrant them access into your co-parenting decisions. Establish early on with your co-parent that these matters are private. You might actually find that this one-on-one communication roots deeper trust and friendship in the long run.
4. Place Jesus higher than your circumstances.
Friend, believe me when I say this: if you keep Jesus in your immediate view as you approach co-parenting, He will honor that. You will live in peace, harmony and joy again because He gives good gifts to His children. Jesus knows your heart. He knows how deep these issues pain you, and He knows when and how you will make it through to the other side. Remember that your co-parenting relationship is only a season, but your relationship with Jesus is your present and future.
So, are those four keys the “secret sauce” to co-parenting? Well, one of them is (hint: it’s #4). But the rest are only tips that may help your mental and relational health. Take or leave these tips, but prioritize your spiritual health and the rest will follow.
Grace Richmond believes there is freedom in allowing Jesus to take His rightful place as our Counselor and Guide, yet God created us to provide community and encourage each other here on earth. She has been led to write so that she can be your community, your accountability, and your cheerleader! She hopes that her writings about single parenting and personal growth will jump off the page (or screen) and bring hope and joy to all who read. And she’d love to connect with you and talk about what’s on your heart. Reach out to her on Instagram @likegracekelley.