Parenting: The Approach is Irrelevant, The Ultimate Goal is Important

I think about parenting all day and all night, this has become a huge part of my life since I earned the title Mom. I honestly can say parenthood is the most important part of my life, a close second importance is my work. There are many ways to raise your child, every book and every other parent will lend you advice on what worked for them. The key is that those methods worked for them. The advice you receive, the suggestions others lend, are not made of gold and are not something you have to follow. Kindly accept advice and knowledge shared from one parent to another, but never question your ultimate way of living if it works for you and your children.

One thing about co-parenting or even parenting as husband and wife under the same roof is that not even both parents will have the same approach to every parenting scenario. Mom and Dad do things different, this is just a fact of life. Mom and Dad have a different approach to life, so why wouldn’t they have a different approach in parenthood? Makes sense that they would approach things differently, even in regards to their own children.

What is extremely important as two parents raising children together, is that both are on the same goal path. This means that Mom and Dad both have the same goals in mind with the type of child they want to raise into adulthood. It’s best that you have discussions beforehand about your wishes for your not-yet-planned child, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Life seems to go on whether you are ready for it or not.

The best tips I have for you in regards to ensuring you both have the same goals for your children is to do the following:

  • Discuss what is important to both of you and collide them together in your child’s upbringing.
  • Be sure you both are on the same path to instill the same morals and personality traits in your child.
  • Be respectful that your approach and their approach may be different.
  • Keep open communication to ensure that you both are indeed still working to parent on the same path.

It’s really irrelevant if your spouse handles your child differently than you do, what really matters most is that you both are working to raise the same type of child. This is important. Everything else is just fluff, and honestly a child who has two parents who approach things differently will assist that child in having more of an open mind to life as they get older.

This Could Be The Hardest Part of Co-Parenting

The challenges that arise with co-parenting are plentiful, you see when you raise your children in a home where both parents reside then the fact that each parent is slightly or completely different can be balanced for the most part. Having a balanced household between Mom and Dad working together is amazing but when you take those same two parents, separate them and place children in the middle, all heck could break loose. It’s sometimes difficult for parents to step back and let the other parent do their thing without interfering, even in a household where two parents reside which means that is even more difficult when you realize you no longer have control over the rules placed in the other household while your children visit their other parent.

Co parentingIt can take a long time to adjust to both letting go of the fact that you have no control over rules in the other household combined with the fact that simply letting go of having your children away from you for a period of time. It’s an emotional ride when you start co-parenting for sure, but sometimes and I hope usually, things settle a bit. For me, co-parenting has been pretty simple but it wasn’t always that way. I had some difficult years where I couldn’t let go of the fact that I had zero say in who was around my kids, what rules were placed in the father’s household and mostly just had a hard time being away from the kids. It wasn’t an easy path to walk but I simply reminded myself that their Dad’s love them as much as I do. I had to let go and trust that they would make the right decisions that they felt were best for our kids and never knowingly put the kids in harms way.

The thing I see more often than not with co-parenting is this power struggle; one parent believes they are in control of everything and have the say to tell the other parent when, where and why. That is why the court system has this lovely thing called a Parenting Plan. The Parenting Plan is a legal binding document that sets forth when, where and how each parent shall spend time with the children. While I have an issue with this whole “let’s split the kids 50/50″ crap that NH plays a lot {and other states too}, most of the time the judge wishes to see that the children are spending equal or close to equal time with both parents. This helps alleviate the stress some children can have with going long periods of time without the other parent. Once the Parenting Plan has been put in place, there is little to negotiate because all of that occurred during the court battle, mediation and in a hearing. Once the legal system puts a Parenting Plan in place and states “this is how it is” then both co-parents and any children involved must oblige whether they like it or not.

Of course, as with any law, there are exceptions. Let’s say the Parenting Plan won’t work because “something came up” maybe a business trip or something, well then the parents can work together to negotiate something that helps each of them continue on in their own separate lives while working to share time with the children so that the other can work or travel or attend a family thing that the children cannot attend. If you are co-parents who cannot even speak to each other without one or the other jumping down the throat and swearing and causing a big scene then unfortunately the only people who are losing with this type of situation are the children.

Believe it or not children are extremely resilient and get over situations that they may not like, may not understand or are stressful. In other words, kids get over crap faster than most adults do. I swear. So if you or a friend is co-parenting with a lot of resistance from the other parent to work together and form a Parenting Plan that 1st benefits the children and 2nd benefits each parent having a life aside from parenting, then maybe they should meet a mediator, go to a family counselor or utilize any outside sources to help open their eyes to what this situation is doing to their children. After all, once two parents are in a co-parenting situation nothing matters except the children from that point forward.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

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