Co-parenting comes with its challenges, and it’s especially difficult when the two houses have different sets of rules. You might be telling your child one thing, and your co-parent is telling them something else. It’s hard to manage, and if your relationship with your co-parent is not healthy, it’s even worse. In this blog we’re going to discuss some co-parenting tips to help make that aspect of having “two homes” a bit easier.
Co-parenting Tips: What Happens in Vegas
The best way to begin coping with this structure of multiple rules is to assume the “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas,” rule. Pretend that the other house is Vegas – and obviously, you cannot control what happens in Vegas. Try not to drive yourself crazy over the details of what’s happening there and what the aftermath may be when your child comes back. Your energy is best spent focusing on your time with your child and how you interact with them in your own household.
The next step would be to offer your co-parent crazy positive intent no matter what. Whatever they’re doing, believe it’s because they believe it is the best choice they have right now.
Unhook from the limiting belief “They’re just doing this to spite me.” Shift your perspective to see it from their perspective. You might be surprised to see the positive intent behind it all. When your mindset pivots to this, the potential for them to feel less judgment increases. They might be more inclined to cooperate with you as to what you would like the mutual teachings between your child to be.
Your Kids Aren’t Responsible for an Adult’s Decisions
A super, super important point I cannot stress enough here – don’t hold your kids responsible for your co-parent’s decisions. For example, if your co-parent lets your child stay up to see a late movie on a night before a big test, and as a result, they do poorly – don’t shame your child for that result. In this instance, the shame might make them afraid to let you know what’s going on in the other house.
Create Open Communication
The best way to work through this would be to get curious about the incident instead. Ask them something like, “when you found out you were going to a 10PM movie, what was going through your mind?” (Tone and intention here are crucial). After being asked this, they might respond with, “Well, I didn’t know how to tell dad/mom because he/she was so excited about the movie.”
Once you’ve opened the gate for healthy, transparent, and non-judgmental communication, you can ask “Would you like to talk about some ways you can talk to your dad/mom about this?”
From there, listen to what your child says and take mental inventory. They might say, “I don’t want this to happen again, but I don’t want to hurt their feelings” or “No, I can figure this out myself.” Whatever the answer you get, respect your child’s wishes and don’t do anything that would hinder them from having this conversation with you in the future.
In the end, trying to overstep your control in your co-parent’s house might create bigger problems, and ultimately ruin the time you have with your child in your own home. Plus, you don’t have to give up the ideals you have for your children. The important thing to understand is that you might have to reframe what those ideals look like (and refer to these co-parenting tips!).
If co-parenting successfully is something you struggle with – sign up for the Mindful-IshTM parenting waitlist. These are exactly the co-parenting tips we talk about, and that we try to shift. Happy Parenting!
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