Significant others can cause severe damage to a co-parenting relationship if not handled in a respectful, mindful and kind manner. Many times these individuals are seen in a negative light, as threats or as people trying to take over the parent’s role. A shift in the way we view significant others can create a strong and loving co-parenting relationship that is focused on your children. Life is meant to be lived, and love, light and energy received from a partner is one of the most beautiful gifts of the experience. When a significant other comes into your co-parenting relationship, it is important to help manage the expectations of all parties involved – the parents, the children, and the significant other; thus enabling everyone to know their role and lane. The parents are the ones making the decisions regarding the children, and creating discipline rules and a parenting plan that works for their family. The significant other is there to help the parents execute the decisions, and are also there to provide love and support to the co-parent and the children. The children are there to enjoy their lives and grow up in a healthy, happy, all-inclusive, and ever-expanding co-parenting family. Significant others can be huge blessings to a co-parenting relationship. They are making your fellow co-parent happy, and a happy co-parent is significantly easier to work with than an unhappy co-parent; and they are providing love and support to your children, and the more love and support given to our children the better!
Embracing the concept that we are all on an individual life journey to express our unique life purpose helps to shift to the mindset of gratitude for your co-parent. Throughout our journey we have different people coming in and out of our lives to provide us with learnings we are to take with us moving forward. Your co-parent gifted you with your beautiful children, one of the greatest gifts to be grateful and thankful for. When you make this shift you can truly support and celebrate the successes of your co-parent. Not only is it beneficial for your co-parenting relationship when both parents are happy and moving forward in an empowering manner, but it is tremendously beneficial for your children as well. We want our children to see both parents living out their dreams and experiencing a full and happy life, and we also want them to see that their parents are supportive and celebrating in the other’s fabulous achievements. What a powerful message you are sending to your children when you do so. Be happy, live your best life, be true to yourself, and celebrate in the success of your co-parent and others! It is a choice to make this shift, and you are in complete control of making that choice. Choose happiness and elevation!
An attitude of gratitude creates a complete shift in the way you are looking at, and thus experiencing, your co-parenting relationship and the parenting of your children. Being mindful of the power of gratitude, and striving to constantly live in a state of gratitude has the power to change your life. We all have so much to be grateful for – having a roof over our head, food in the refrigerator, clothing covering our bodies. Children are special gifts that are most certainly something to be grateful for. They have changed your life and have taught you how to love unconditionally. They are your teachers, your heart, your most cherished relationship, and your responsibility. You have a responsibility to parent in the best manner you can, to give it your all.
Working with your co-parent, as opposed to against your co-parent, will help you to parent at your highest level. Shifting your mindset with regards to your co-parent to an attitude of gratitude can greatly improve your unified front relationship for the benefit of your children. Focus on the life lessons learned and personal growth you experienced as a result of being in a relationship with your co-parent, and be grateful for those lessons learned and growth achieved. You could have had children with anyone, but your children would not be the same exact children you now have the honor of parenting. This alone is a huge reason to express gratitude towards your co-parent. Without you two being together your children would not be here. There is always something to be grateful for, in your life, the trick is doing the work to focus on what it is and to express extreme gratitude towards it. Anger and gratitude cannot exist simultaneously. Express gratitude, feel good, and live your best life as the parent you have always wanted to be!
No matter what happened between you and your spouse, when children are involved, both of you have an obligation and responsibility to raise your children and provide them with all of the love and support that is needed to enable them to live wonderful lives. Both parents need to serve as a unified front for their children, requiring you both to be on the same page and have strong lines of communication. Kids growing up in today’s world have so much to navigate through – social media, bullying, technology, education competitiveness, etc., and they should not need to worry about their parents’ relationship.
As co-parents, you both need to show your children that you are both here for them and that you both are talking constantly about them and working together to problem-solve and provide support for them. Serving as a unified front lets your children know that you are still a family, just a different family. You are both still their parents, and even though you live in different homes, you are still on top of everything and working together to ensure your children thrive… because you love them more than anything… and because it feels good to support them and show them that you will always be here for them.
Setting an intention for your children is a wonderful way for both parents to become aligned with regards to vision, hopes and dreams for their kids. Set an intention for your children by yourself first. Really focus in on what you want for your children and write these thoughts down in a journal. What type of life do you want them to live? How do you want them to feel, in general and also specifically when they see both of their parents in the same room together? You both are forming your children’s thoughts and beliefs regarding relationships, respect, kindness, and parenting. What belief systems do you want your children to create in their beautiful minds?
Once this exercise is completed, schedule a time to connect with your co-parent so you can each share the intentions you have set for your children.
This is a fantastic way for you both to become aligned in your co-parenting relationship. Both parents will have their expectations managed, and both will make choices moving forward that are supportive of ensuring that the intentions set for your children are actualized.
When you are going through the divorce or separation process, one of the biggest shifts you can make is when you fully understand that it is a choice how your child is going to be affected by the dissolution or separation. It is a choice made by both parents, together and separately. Children are energetic beings, just as everything and everyone else in our environment. They will follow your words, actions and energy. If you and your co-parent choose to be on the same page with regards to your narrative shared with your child, and goals for your child and your co-parenting relationship, you will be able to communicate and share a positive, loving and exciting transition from your pre-dissolution or separation family to your post-post-dissolution or separation family.
It is always a choice, and you (and only you) are in complete control of the choices you make in your life. Make the conscious choice to have a fabulous co-parenting relationship with your ex for the benefit of your child, you and your co-parent. It’s just as easy as making a choice to have a terrible relationship with your co-parent and to fight and speak badly about the other parent in front of your child. The main difference is the first choice is high energy and makes your child and both parents feel good, and the second choice makes everyone feel bad, sad and stuck in a low energy environment. Choose high energy! Choose a supportive co-parenting relationship! Choose to teach your child the meaning and importance of respect, kindness, parenting, and love through your actions, words and energy!
Be kind to yourself and simplify this holiday season. Maybe you are known in your family and friend circle to be the person who goes above and beyond every holiday season – hosting the parties, gifting the perfect gift, having a firm handle on everything and anything having to do with the holidays. Give yourself a pass from being the holiday spirit guru this year. Someone else can take that on. This year, take time to simplify your holiday experience. Be more selfish about taking care of you and making sure you have the energy and time to give to the people reliant upon you. You do not need to do everything, you can do the bare minimum and feel okay with it. Next year you will be in a completely different place, emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Give yourself this holiday season to heal and care for yourself by not taking on more than is absolutely necessary.
We are in the midst of the holiday season. I hope you are all remembering to breathe and center yourself during this busy time. Parents going through the divorce or separation process may be having difficulty with the gift buying for their children. It can turn into a kind of competitive game, and can be very harmful to your children and to your co-parenting relationship.
Instead of looking at buying gifts for your children as a game, where you have to get the BEST GIFT EVER, try to look at it as an opportunity to strengthen your co-parenting relationship and really work together to make the holidays enjoyable and special for your children. Use this time to work together to create a gift list and delegate which one of you will get which gift. There is no need to separate yourself from your co-parent by making them feel inadequate or sad. The holidays are a time to bring families closer together, not drive them further apart. Step back from the situation and look at the bigger picture of your life and the type of co-parenting relationship you want to have. The sooner you two start to work together, the more peace, happiness, and love you will have in your life.
The holidays can be extremely difficult to navigate when you are going through a divorce or legal separation, or even thinking about beginning the process. When children are involved, it is very important to remain cognizant that you are still a family, you are always going to be a family, just a different type of family. Your children love both of their parents more than anything, and they have no way of understanding the conflict and should be completely insulated from same. They want to spend time with both of you as a family.
The holidays provide you with the opportunity to build a strong co-parenting relationship by scheduling time to spend as a family during the major holidays. Start small, an hour, two hours, but carve out time when you all will be spending time together as a family; and make the choice to enjoy that time together celebrating family traditions.
According to the statute, children typically emancipate when they graduate from high school; however, we all know that parenting does not end when your child emancipates. It is a forever responsibility, and you and your fellow co-parent will be in each other’s lives until the day one of you dies. You have a long co-parenting journey ahead, and it is your choice as to whether it will be wonderful or awful. Choose the high energy choice of your co-parenting relationship being WONDERFUL and start by enjoying some holiday time with your family this season. Your children will benefit greatly from seeing you both spend this special time together with them, as a family, just a different family than you were before.
Thanksgiving last week served as a great reminder of the importance of practicing gratitude and thankfulness. Every moment of every day we have a choice to express gratitude for all that is in our life or to focus on all that is not in our life. Implementing a practice of gratitude into your everyday life will shift your focus onto all that you are grateful for and will distance you from the negative thoughts and emotions experienced from focusing on all that we do not want or have in our life.
When going through a divorce or separation, make a conscious effort to shift from from low energy thoughts of anger, frustration, lack, disappointment, hate, and unfulfilled promises to the high energy thoughts focused on gratitude for all of the gifts received from the relationship or marriage – gratitude for the life lessons learned, for the personal growth you experienced, and for the beautiful gifts in the form of children or pets you received from the relationship.
Start noticing the physical cues your body gives you when you choose the high energy thought, emotion or feeling. When you implement an attitude of gratitude into your everyday life you will start to feel more free, lighter and all-around better. You and only you are in control of how you feel and making a low energy or high energy choice in every moment of every day. Make the shift to high energy thoughts and start changing your life!