With the holidays just around the corner, your co-parenting relationship with your child’s other parent may be put to the test. After all, this is the time of year when many parents struggle with the thought of not being able to spend time with their child, and missteps when it comes to abiding by an existing parenting plan can lead to heated disputes.
But there may be a number of factors contributing to your contentious relationship with your child’s other parent. This week on the blog, let’s look at some of those issues and consider what you can do to try to alleviate them. By doing so, hopefully you’ll be able to build a stronger relationship that keeps your child’s best interests front and center in your co-parenting relationship.
- Conflicting parenting styles: In many instances, co-parenting relationships are strained because each parent has a vastly different parenting style from the other. One parent may be laid back and “fun,” while the other parent may be viewed as the disciplinarian who is stricter. This, of course, can affect how the child views each parent, which can lead to strained relationships. As difficult as it may sound, perhaps the best way to alleviate this issue is to simply talk with your child’s other parent to see if there’s a way to develop some consistency in parenting styles. If that isn’t possible and you think that the current custody and visitation arrangement is harmful to your child, then you may need to consider legal action.
- Losing focus on the children: Custody and visitation disputes are emotional, as is divorce. That’s why, time-and-again, we see parents who either intentionally or unintentionally use their children as a pawn to hurt the other parent. For example, when a child requests to spend more time with one parent, the other parent may refuse to do so not because the other parent in inappropriate, but because they simply want to hurt the other parent by withholding contact with the child. This is harmful for everyone involved. If you suspect that this is happening in your case, then you should speak with your attorney about your next steps to protect your child.
- Excessive disagreements: A lot of parents who are in co-parenting relationships struggle to find common ground as they are always in disagreement with their child’s other parent. These disagreements can lead to inconsistencies for the child, and the disputes may even occur in front of him or her. That’s unacceptable. To try to minimize the frequency and impact of disagreements, you and your child’s other parent should consider implementing decision-making strategies. For example, you might agree to give the other parent a certain amount of time to make a decision instead of requesting one on the spot, or you may agree to take challenging and important decisions to a mediator. Also, keeping all decisions in the context of what’s best for your child can go a long way. Of course, if you and your spouse disagree over major life decisions for your child, then you may need to turn to the court for assistances.
Take the action needed to give your child the life he or she deserves
These are just a few of the co-parenting issues that you may face. You can find more here. With that in mind, there’s no doubt that co-parenting is hard, especially when things don’t go as planned. But you shouldn’t give up and give in when you’re confronted with co-parenting challenges. Instead, you should do whatever it takes to protect your child’s best interests, which in some cases may mean taking legal action. If you’d like to learn more about building an effective co-parenting relationship and what you should do if your co-parenting relationship is failing, consider reaching out to a legal advocate who you can trust.