Married couples: stay on track and don’t add stress to each other. The following items could help you as well. These parenting issues happen in all homes.
Separated couples: this is still your track. You chose to have kids with each other, so you are still “in a relationship” with each other. You can remove yourselves from a “loving marital relationship”, but you cannot remove yourself from the “parenting your children relationship.”
Ways you can help each other deal with stress;
1. Support each other with decisions when it comes to your children. Even if you do not agree with the other, you can still be supportive when it comes to your children. You’ll be thankful when the children continue to respect the both of you. If you disagree, try to find a resolution after the moment is over. Not in front of or in your child’s sight and don’t talk to uour kids about it. Talk to the person you disagree with. If not, your teaching tour children to talk about others behind their back and that resolution is not needed.
2. Be all inclusive. Do not discard or alienate. If you want to make a decision, include everyone. First discuss with your child’s other parent and then discuss with your children. Find out what everyone thinks and then make the decision. Simply going ahead and doing what you want with no regard to other’s wants and needs adds more stress to your family than communicating prior.
3. Find a common goal for your family and stick with it. The ways you and your children’s other parent gets there may be different, but it’s the same goal. For example if the goal were for the children to be farther along than where you were at 18, one parent may think this means for the children to have better school grades, braces that they didn’t have and go on field trips that they weren’t able to do when they were in school, the other parent may want the children to learn more about transitioning from child to adult such as taxes, responsibilities, independence and credit scores. The two parents working together on different tasks towards the same goal is better than using time fighting over custody or nit picking each other.
4. Resolve items as they come. If you have a court order, stick with it. If you want to change it, change it prior to demanding change and just doing what you want. Begin by discussing options with the other parent. If you both agree, get a new stipulation. If you both don’t agree, get help through the courts. This doesn’t have to be seen as a bad thing. Resolution is good.
5. Don’t start drama. Comments such as “I always”, “you never” or the long drawn out stories of how you gave and gave and the other parent won’t… these are normally exaggerated and rarely give credit to the other parent.
6. Stop trying to measure “Fair” so you can report how you are In need of your share. Fair, give and take measurements aren’t realistic. First: do not give if you are looking to receive. Give because you want to give. If you are not willing to give freely, then be upfront and offer a trade with specifics about what you want in return. If you want to trade something, then trade if you think it’s fair. Keeping track of what you give instead of just giving because it’s the right thing to do and then waiting and complaining that you don’t get yours simply adds stress to you family. Example: one dad I work with gave the children to the mom early on Martin Luther King’s birthday. He had to work while mom was home sleeping from working the night before. Kids had the day off school. Just two days prior was her birthday. She’s been asking for years that they let the kids be with the parents to celebrate. Dad kept the kids instead of with the mom for her birthday. The court order use to include birthdays, but dad wanted the court holiday schedule other than the changes that he wanted. This removed birthdays and a few other things that were specific for both mom and dad. A few weeks later unexpectedly, dad wanted the time back from MLK day. Mom had no idea dad was going to trade and she had made plans during the time dad planned to keep the kids. He wanted his fair share back. Mom saw the time as First Right to Refusal since he didn’t express that he would want the time back and since he kept the kids on her birthday, she assumed it wasn’t out of a kind gesture it was because he needed help. She in no way assumed he was going to ask for the time back or that he was going to express how unfair she was. Remember fairness can never be measured. Just do what needs to be done when each other needs help and do not complain when things aren’t fair. Once you begin spitting out what you think is unfair, the other parent will have a list of unfair item of their own.
7. Think of what is best for your family in the long run. If you think playing keep away during holidays is best for your family, do it. If you want to complain that your children’s other parent brainwashes your children instead of realizing your child has an independent mind and has a voice of their own, then do it IF you think that is what is best for your family. On the other hand, if you think allowing your children to love as many people as possible and allowing your child to grow and become independent and make mistakes to learn on their own before becoming an adult with small items that won’t hurt them, then do that. Think of the big picture. Allow mindfulness, family bonds, tranquility, kindness and growth.
8. Use each other first. When making decisions, talk to your child’s other parent not an accumulation of other people’s opinions to built a case to discard their credibility. When you decided to have children together, you are making a combination of the two of you not a warfare of who can find enough facts to fight against each other. In your family, you are the hierarchy. As long as you run to other people, you are saying you are not strong enough to make decisions on your own. As long as you bash the other parent instead of respecting their voice, you are saying that you don’t trust your decisions now because you chose the wrong person to have children with and you need help as a child would. Discrediting the others person’s voice will add another level of court hearing so the parent may be heard. This adds another level of resentment and frustration instead of supporting them, you are adding stress.
If you keep adding stress instead of bringing stress you will continue to add cruelty to your children and harm them as they are attempting to become what they need to become, adults who know how to manage life stresses.
It is imperative that you show by example how to manage stress for themselves and their families.