Co-parenting is EXTREMELY difficult.
I have only been at it for 6 months now, and I already want to tear my hair out from frustrations.
It’s hard to work with someone you more than likely hate. It’s even harder to raise a child together! It’s going to take a lot of self-discipline to do it correctly.
Regardless of how hard it is, you need to make sure that you ALWAYS do what’s best for your child.
Sometimes, this will mean sacrificing something on your end. Scratch that, you will be sacrificing a lot.
However, if your co-parent is a great parent like yourself, then your sacrifices will be paid back. It should all even out in the end.
And even if it doesn’t, you need to be ok with that. It’s about your child, not you.
If your child is benefiting from the sacrifice, then you need to suck it up for them.
Sacrifice generally comes with a lot of angst. This angst will make it easy for you to do things that aren’t best for your child, such as preventing your child from experiencing special events with your co-parent.
This is child-like behavior. You need to grow up and be the parent your child needs you to be.
Furthermore, the person you’re really hurting by doing this, is your child. You’re taking something they could make a great memory out of and preventing it from happening.
And for what? To get even? You’ll be going down a never-ending road if that’s the case. Plus, that’s not very polite.
This is where self-discipline comes in. You need to be prepared to be polite despite the negative feelings you are experiencing.
Believe me, I know it is extremely hard. I have fallen short in this area in the past, and it was a mistake.
But that’s ok, because I learned from it. Learn from the mistakes I have already made!
Anyways, being polite should help your relationship with your co-parent. If it doesn’t, you can rest assured that you will be doing what is best for your child.
By being polite, you are setting an example for your child on how to treat others.
It doesn’t really matter how old or young your child is. They will still benefit from you starting this as soon as possible.
I don’t think I have to tell you how impressionable children are. They will pick up on every little thing you do or don’t do.
If you’re interested in learning more about how children observe and learn, I recommend reading up on Albert Bandura’s research with observational learning.
But, this post isn’t about observational learning, it’s about being polite.
After the separation with my son’s mother, I went into a pretty deep depression. I knew I wasn’t ok.
I had felt very similar feelings after losing my father roughly 10 years prior.
So, because of this, I could recognize that I needed help.
If you haven’t spoken to a therapist about your situation, I recommend it. It is a safe place to vent from your support group whom may or may not be biased.
I had a great therapist who helped me tremendously.
The best thing she taught me however, was to say please and thank you.
As kids, this is usually drilled into our brains until we say it before and after everything.
Unfortunately, we tend to forget the power of those few words.
They are very polite things to say. How can one get mad at someone for saying thank you?
Sure, I guess you can say it sarcastically, but I know you’re better than that.
Say it and actually mean it. If you don’t mean it, then convey it in a way that looks like you mean it.
Then once you’re alone, say what you actually wanted to actually say. Let it all out where no damage can be done. Bonus points if you write about it.
You’ll get better at the empathy portion with time.
Regardless, these few words have helped me a lot when dealing with Xander’s mother.
I use them to make sure that I come off as non-threatening, they help me to be firm yet polite, and it helps me respect her as a person.
If someone gets upset at you while saying please and thank you, then they need to figure some things out on their part.
Furthermore, using these words have helped me feel better emotionally. It has helped quell that angst that I have while sacrificing for my son.
That anger is not healthy to hold on to. Being polite is a great way to help rid yourself of it.
Don’t stop with just words though! You can also be polite via your actions.
I have always believed that actions are much louder than words.
Are you meeting to talk about your child? Hold the door open for your co-parent.
Is it raining? Hold an umbrella for your co-parent.
Did their car die in your driveway? Help them to solve the problem.
These are things that my co-parent and I have done for each other since separating, and they have gone a long way.
My co-parent and I don’t get along, but I still appreciate these things. I can still put my feelings for her aside and set a good example for my son.
Today’s Lesson: Be polite to your co-parent. It will help your relationship with them, help you feel better, and set a good example for your child.