Four Rules for Co-Parenting:
Love beyond yourself.
Choose to put your child’s needs first. Sometimes that means putting their other parent (your ex) above your own selfish wants and needs.
Strive for your child to be raised not feeling torn or stuck in the middle.
Pay attention to what you say or how you treat your ex, your child is watching you.
These rules are far from easy. I have failed several times, but I have also learned to process things prior to reacting.
Recently, my son’s stepmom asked how I would feel if they took my son on vacation during Thanksgiving break. I’d love to tell you my initial response was, “of course!”
But it wasn’t.
Stepmom: “Just thinking out loud…could we possibly take C out of town for this upcoming Thanksgiving break?
Me: Let me think it through. We have always split the holidays.
Stepmom: That makes sense, let’s think about it, and we can talk as it gets closer. We were trying to think of a good time to take all of them to visit where we grew up!
Me: I am glad you brought it up. Honestly, it would be okay for him to go. I needed to think it through. The selfish shock hit at first and I needed to process it.
As you can tell, we don’t follow a traditional court order, because that’s what works for us.
Co-parenting is a choice.
In this situation, I had to choose to think beyond my selfishness and focus on what my son would miss out on if I held him back.
When my ex and I broke up over a decade ago, I had the choice to always live in bitterness or to put aside the past and focus on our son.
It’s not always easy to co-parent, but it’s worth it when you hear your child say,
“I love that you all get along.”
Sometimes you’ll truly become family with your ex and their new family, and other times you may just get along with them for your child’s sake.
Have you ever thought about how Jesus would want you to love your child’s other parent and their new family?
Jesus wasn’t suggesting in Matthew 22:39 “love your neighbor as yourself,” it was a command.
Jesus didn’t make easy decisions;
- He chose to love the outcast.
- He chose to put others above himself which is why he died on the cross for us.
“Jesus exemplified how we should live.”
It’s not natural to put others above ourselves, especially our exes and their new family, but when it comes to our child, we should.
Our child didn’t choose to have a split family or to be raised in different households with different rules.
Why wouldn’t we try to make it the best experience and provide two sets of parents that love and care for them?
To me, this is Co-Parenting:
- Your family grows bigger and sometimes you must agree to disagree.
- You choose love when you don’t want to
- You put yourself in the other person’s shoes
I think this is how Jesus wants us to live.
- How do you love like Jesus when it doesn’t come naturally?
- Is there someone that comes to mind that you need to choose to agree to disagree with?