Top 5 Ways To Co-Parent Children of Divorce
Coulter says. “This yogurt is good.”
Emma Claire says. “That’s an opinion. Not a fact”.
Coulter comes back. “It is a fact that I like the yogurt.”
Emma Claire comes back. “The yogurt is good is an opinion. Mom bought the yogurt at HyVee is a fact.”
So I’m tossing around in my head whether what I’m going to share today is opinion or fact.
It’s my first ever Top 5 List. I know Top 10 lists are more popular, but it’s a list about things that my ex-husband and I do well and to be honest, 5 will be a stretch.
At least for me.
So here it goes.
The Top 5 Ways that my Ex-husband and I Co-Parent correctly. (And if you are a divorced parent, things you should be doing as well.)
And that, in my humble opinion, is a fact. 🙂
#1. We follow the rules.
We fought our case. We fought hard. Tears. Attorneys. Mediators. Judges. 2 years. We fought our case. We fought for our children. We both lost. Because right, everyone pretty much loses when you tear apart a family?
Once the plan was laid down. Once the papers were signed. Once we sent our final checks to the attorneys, we have followed the rules. It makes life easier. It makes life better. It makes a life that is totally unfair a little bit more-fair.
#2. We answer the question, “What is best for my children.”
It’s not what is best for Mother.
#3. By the grace of God, we compromise respectfully.
We do this because:
#1, we follow the rules and because #2, the answer to every question is “What is best for my children?”
Example. I have a super cool birthday present for Emma Claire this year, but it would involve her Dad’s Friday night. I can’t just call him and change the plan. I can’t just break the rules. Think I’m judge and jury. BUT, I can humble myself and ask.
He didn’t hesitate. What’s best for Emma Claire?
He answered yes.
And I’ve told Emma Claire that I have the best birthday present in the history of the world except for Jesus and she squeals! “Is it a phone?”
No. Emma Claire, it’s not a phone.
That’s a fact.
#4. We don’t treat our children as pawns.
We don’t use them to hurt each other. They aren’t little chess pieces to be moved around so that we can look our ex-spouse in the eyes one day and cry “Checkmate!” They are children. We created them together. We are raising them.
And a part.
This is not a game to be won or loss.
This is life. And the circumstance surrounding our lives are those in which we created.
Not our children.
#5. We don’t treat our children like small adults.
We don’t have adult conversations with our children. They already know more than they should. They already hurt more than they should. We don’t add to that. My children have never once heard me say anything bad about their dad.
When they are older, they may read the hurt and the once-anger that I wrote so freely about in my blogs, but they won’t hear it growing up. And they will have the choice whether to read.
I tell them funny stories all the time about their dad. I share memories and talk about the ways that I loved him and funny things we used to do as a family. I build him up.
Because it builds them up.
Speaking ugly about your ex-spouse to your children is child abuse.
It confuses our children. I came from them. He is my father. She is my mother. So if he’s such a loser, then I must be too. If he’s a deadbeat, then I am too.
It’s confusing. It’s wrong. It’s emotional abuse and if you are doing it. Stop.
Just like that. Stop.
Come to think of it, maybe I could make it to ten. We communicate well. We sit together at games. We laugh and talk normally in front of our kids. We visit and catch up when we drop-off or pick up.
And I’m sure I could think of a top-10 list in ways that I, at least, get it wrong. I’m a Coulter. I’m a Hale. I’m a Revels. Those are my excuses. It’s like a perfect storm of genetics to make for a hot temper and a short fuse. God’s word tells us that sweetness of speech increases effectiveness. That a soft answer turns away wrath. And yet sometimes my soft answer turns hard. And the sweetness turns bitter. So easily, yes. 10 and 10 more upon that.
I don’t put my children first. I put children “best”.
Emma Claire asked me recently how scientist do science-thingys.
Uhm, well. They perform experiments. I guess. That’s how they do the thingys.
They take opinions and test them until they become facst?
Let’s face it, divorced or not, we are experimenting with our children and trusting the Lord for the test results.
Divorce is messy and hard and sad and broken.
That is, without question a fact.
My ex-husband and I are doing our very best to make it a little less messy, hard, sad and broken.
That too is a fact.
And I have the smiles to prove it.
****I’d like to once again invite blended families to join us for a time of fellowship at our home today at 4:00. We will be working through the book, “The Smart Stepfamily” by Ron Deal. Mike and I will have copies for you to take home. If you can’t come today but would like to be a part of this ministry, please contact me on fb or email. firstname.lastname@example.org