Tips on Shared Parenting

 

What works
Right away set up a schedule of parenting time that works for your children and for both of you, then stay flexible as the kids grow up and the schedule has to be adjusted. Here is a great website: https://www.custodyxchange.com/examples/schedules/50-50/ . This website has a list of factors to consider when setting parenting time and it presents a number of alternatives such as alternating weeks, or a 3-4-4-3 schedule. Parallel parenting — an arrangement in which parents agree to exchange important information about the child’s welfare, but otherwise permit each other to parent the child autonomously — can work for the children when parents are having difficulty communicating with each other.

I have found that the single most important theme of my parenting style is consistency to the point of being ridiculous with carefully orchestrated periods of total or near-total insanity.

I feel very protective of our time together, so I have resisted enrolling the kids in large numbers of activities. In lieu of filling all their “free-time” with planned activities (and chauffeuring), we spend a lot of time just hanging out together. This works really well for their current age range (5 to 10 years). This is difficult when your ex believes in enrolling the kids in enough organized activities to fill almost all of their time. We have it in our separation agreement that this will be limited to one activity per weekend. School related activities on weeknights are usually not a big issue.

In short- being with dad is just that- a time when they share “my life” and vice versa. We have fun and we get done the stuff that needs to get done. It isn’t a special time when rules don’t apply or special rules apply.

I feel that it has been VERY important to resist arguing with my ex in person or otherwise within earshot of the kids. Also, I feel that it has also been crucial not to badmouth my ex. In fact, it almost goes without saying that whatever happens at “mommies house” is under her roof, her rules, her lifestyle, etc. This is not to say that my ex and I don’t “discuss” their behavior and their lives behind the scenes. But, more often than not, I have had to deal with the question “do they do this to you?…” in terms of daily interactions and parental treatment. On this front, in my case, I feel that a single parent has to pretty much rely on generating, sticking to and enforcing their own set of rules in their household.

It sort of goes without saying that the no badmouthing rule is necessarily a unilateral decision and may not be reciprocal- just as personal parenting styles are just that.

Your ex needs you. This can be demonstrated in several of ways. Gently establish your worth as a parent.
“We must be the change we wish to see.” M.K. Gandhi. Men rarely want sole custody of their children; most women don’t either, but may think that it will cost them to give up joint custody. Therefore, if shared parenting is what we want, then we must establish a good working relationship with the ex spouse. Each parent must do his or her best for their children. Stop to think, what is best for the kids.

Keep your long run goal in mind: shared parenting. Let small stuff go. Choose battles carefully. Make them clean their room! At least once in a while. If they don’t have any respect for their space, they will have none for anyone else’s.

New Dad? Need help with your baby’s sleeping, feeding, crying, and diapers? Contact:

Connecticut Clearinghouse
334 Farmington Avenue
Plainville, CT 06062
Telephone# 1-800-232-4424
Fax# 1-860-793-9813
info@ctclearinghouse.org
Ask for their pamphlet: “New Dad Tips”

What does NOT work
Attempts to threaten or bully your ex. Instead, show her that you can give her a break from single parenthood if she cooperates with you.

Violence and threats of violence are not in the best interests of the kids. They do not help to develop a good parenting relationship with your ex.

Loud or argumentative behavior. Gentle insistence on you most important issues is better.

Challenging every little thing your ex does with the kids. Better to choose your battles.

Legal violence (a scorched earth legal battle) is not in the kid’s best interests. Better to mediate or work with a counselor. Very often, litigation does not work, except for the lawyers. I made a conscious decision to give my ex-wife extra child support and alimony in order to avoid costly, antagonistic litigation. Isn’t it better to give her the money rather than give it to a lawyer? And most importantly, the kids have benefited from reduced animosity.

I have sometimes made the mistake of taking a strident, demanding attitude with my ex. This has never worked for me. It is not good for the kids because it raises the level of tension when we exchange the kids.


Dads: Ten Ways to be a better dad.

 

One thought on “Tips on Shared Parenting

  1. My ex has made the last 4 years of our lives a living hell. Clothes, backpack, school, sisters, brothers, pets, lunch boxes, mothers day, jackets, extended family, holidays, graduations, toys, hair cuts, nail polish, religious choice and the list goes on… Those are just a few examples of the day to day details that my 8 year old has to worry about being attacked for when she goes to her dads house nothing is off the table when it comes to making our daughter into a foot solider, going not just between our homes but our battles. My ex constantly bad mouths me and everything my daughter does when she is not with her father. He has a lawyer who is a family member and has not hesitated in doing whatever my ex wants. My ex will follow us, harass and threaten me, sit outside my house- im a grown 30 something year old woman and its too much for me i cant imagine how my daughter feels. Hes gone out of his way to keep our daughter out of therapy. I have physical custody and share joint legal custody with ny ex but it doesnt matter. He has gotten away with it all. I have not stayed silent in my fight but my voice has been silenced. I refuse to lose my life and livelihood defending myself against somebody who continues to go out of their way to do wrong and the court system that I’m supposed to turn to to help me has done nothing but help my ex control our child and brain wash her. It has allowed him to threatened and harass me on a daily basis. There needs to be someone people like myself cab turn to for help and not go broke doing it. There needs to be more talk about cases like mine and the family system needs resources. And programs. No one listens or cares. Judges tell me to go to therapy and therapist tell us to go to court. The lawyers and gal just took all our money. My daughter trusts that i will always protect her and take care of her but then every week i send her to her fathers and its like sending her to the wolves..Lawyers” mediators, family relation counselors and high-conflict custody programs Guardian ad litems, weve done it all. Even dcf was involved when they had to do an assessment over the fasle accusations made against me and even they told me their hands are tied. All the Articles and everything ive read talks about all these ways to prove alienation or emotional abuse yet over four years later I’m still here fighting the same fight all the people I’ve cried out to so far have done nothing but ignore me and push me over to the next person. Wheres the help? Why is it so hard to get my voice heard?

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