There has never been more difficult job than co-parenting. It requires dealing with the “worms in the can” and letting painful emotions take a back seat to the needs of the children.
I initially wrestled with the new stages of my co-parenting. One of them was the frustration I felt during our separation when my former husband would pick up the two children for the weekend, ring the doorbell and then walk right in the front door. I struggled, This doesn’t feel right. If you want the privilege to roam around the living room, then you need to move back in this place with your family. We all miss you. I felt violated. Goodness. My counselor had to help me figure this one out!
So here’s a few ABC’s about keeping the peace that might be helpful with conflict resolution in general.
A – Always put the kids first. For their sake, put aside your personal emotions and everything that’s unfair. After all, you might not be able to “fix” it, but you can certainly do more damage. At all costs, consider, “What’s best for my child?”
B – Be open to changes. I know it’s hard to let go of the little things, but keep in mind: Don’t have a major reaction to a minor issue. Sometimes we let ourselves stay in a tizzy when we just need to move on.
C - Communicate as respectfully as possible. Remember, your former husband is your children’s dad. Children want to love both parents. Give them that opportunity. After all they did not get a divorce, we did.
D – Decide what’s right. It’s ok to dislike your former spouse’s behavior, but you can’t dislike him as a person. You’ll need to yield this one to God by asking the Father’s love to abide in you. Seeing the other parent through God’s eyes puts a fresh perspective on everything.
E – Elevate your thoughts. Raise your level of self-control. When you want to stew over an injustice, praise God instead for it. Let your offenses be opportunities to ring the alarm bell in your mind to bring God into the frustration. He comes running!
F – Forget what you can’t change. Just accept “what is.” I know we often want “what was” or “what will be,” but that’s wasting the precious gift of today. Don’t let circumstances out of your control, control you. Let it go. Embrace now. It will be gone tomorrow.
G – Get settled in your plan of action. Stay calm when tempted to flair out of control. When talking to your former spouse, don’t look back at the past nor fast forward to the uncertain future. Just stay in the moment and discuss the issues at hand.
H – Have the mind of Christ. In other words, work on thinking like Jesus thought. That will require being in His Word and asking the Holy Spirit for assistance. Envision Jesus talking through you by calling on His power and wisdom.
What happened to I-Y? I skipped them.
Z – Zip your mouth. Don’t hit below the belt with your words in front of your children about the other parent. Why? It does three things: Poisons the child, fuels your anger and displeases God.
So surrender. Instead, work out problems by praying and asking God to help you find new ways to communicate well. Swallow what’s destructive (your pride, past grievances, the petty stuff) and make room for your heavenly Father to establish a resolution that works for all parties. A win-win for everyone is possible and good.
Pam Kanaly, selected as National Mother of Achievement – 2015 - in Washington, DC, and best-selling author of The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions, remains one of the nation’s leading advocates for single mothers. As founder of the single mothers’ conferences – Survive ‘N’ Thrive, Pam exudes with a God-given passion in seeing women walk in their value in Christ. She is the co-founder of the national organization Arise Ministries bringing encouragement to single mothers worldwide through their online education center: EQUIP. Pam’s been featured on the 700 Club along with her own former national television talk show. Pam is a favorite in Oklahoma having been nominated by the Governor for Oklahoma Mother of Achievement – 2015. Pam and her husband Rich reside in Edmond, Oklahoma. ariseministries.net
Publication date: January 28, 2016