Parenting and co-parenting: Remembering your child is different from you
Parenting is one of those areas that the minute you think you have it figured out, something will remind you that it's always changing and unpredictable. When you have to shift from raising your kids together in the same home, to co-parenting according to a court-approved plan and placement schedule, the delicate balance of taking care of your kids can get much harder. With all of the back and forth in court over how the kids will spend time with each of you, it can be easy to forget that they have a say in the relationship too. When it comes to parenting and co-parenting, remembering your child is different than you can help you keep perspective.
Parenting is About Each Parent and Their Child
Generally, Wisconsin law favors parenting plans that allow each parent to have meaningful and frequent contact with both parents. Your child will benefit from developing a strong and healthy relationship with you and the other parent. Although you may have intense and even negative feelings about the other parent and the divorce, your child is going to have their own independent connection and bond with them. You can help support your child by respecting this relationship and remembering that it is not about you.
Co-Parenting Belongs Between Parents
Parents can get so wrapped up in defining and fighting over the details of co-parenting that they can lose focus. An unfortunate consequence can be inadvertently putting their child in the middle of disputes. A seemingly harmless comment to your child about the other parent not attending an event or being late can create anxiety. Likewise, asking your child to relay information to your ex about a parenting-related issue can signal that they are the source of a problem. This type of communication needs to remain between parents alone. Boundaries are important and maintaining them helps children feel secure with both of you.
Show Respect for Your Child
Divorce is never easy for kids and having to go through all of the changes in the situation can make them feel helpless and unable to assert themselves when it comes to important choices. Parents are going to have to leave their kids out of some adult decisions, but it’s important to honor their wishes and who they are as individuals when possible. You want your child to feel that you are taking how he or she feels into consideration as you are going through the process. Although you may not always be able to do what your child wants or discuss your reasoning for certain decisions, you can treat them with respect and empathy during this transition.
Attorney Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law understands the importance of the parenting and co-parenting relationships and can help you develop a plan for your family. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us take a "first look" at your circumstances.