San Diego Family Mediation Center

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Guest Post: Getting Your Co-Parent to Support Your Decisions

Whether you have sole physical custody or shared custody you generally still want your ex-spouse to maintain a healthy relationship with your child and an active role as part of your parenting team. You may have your difference of opinion in terms of parenting styles but you should aim to have a unified front on certain aspects of parenting. Household rules and expectations of how your child ought to behave for example. Letting your children live by completely separate rules in each household can negatively affect their behavior and doesn’t provide them with the stability and consistency they need.

Getting the Support You Need

If you are long distance parent or just new to co-parenting you will quickly realize that compromise is important. You can’t be involved in every aspect of your ex-partner’s relationship with your child, sometimes it’s better to trust, respect your differences and avoid the argument. Ultimately you wish to make informed joint decisions in the best interests of your child. That being said there are times when you need your decision to be supported.

Perhaps you co-parent isn’t pulling their weight? Lacking effort? Missing important dates? You need to put your foot down and make yourself heard without making the situation worse. One method is by setting an example. No one wants to be seen as the parent who isn’t trying. Hopefully, an exemplary attitude will inspire emulation. If the other parent is trying but you still don’t see eye to eye on what you consider to be important issues then the best way to address this is through controlled communication. Encourage open dialogue, discuss ideas and raise your objections in a polite manner, free from personal attacks or character assassination. The benefits of this are twofold; a significant reduction in the likelihood of an argument or dispute whilst simultaneously presenting yourself as a great role model to your child.

However, if you are in a high-conflict situation and there is no chance of receiving the support you need then first you should consider mediation. After this, it is perfectly acceptable to go over your ex’s head and speak directly to your lawyer or the appropriate person. If they are breaking the rules and provisions outlined in your custody agreement then this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

In Summary

You and your ex-partner will never parent exactly the same way. That being said you do deserve support, don’t be afraid to take action if you are not getting the support you need especially if you have full custody. Try to align your values and then you can provide a consistent set of rules and expectations for your children. When communicating your reservations or something you aren’t happy with, do your best to control your emotions and express the reason you feel the way you do whilst keeping your child’s best interests at the center of your argument. Remember you are both parents. One of the best ways of getting your ex-partner on your side and supporting you is to involve them in the life of your child, listen to them and respect their opinions too.

Thanks to Custody X Change for the guest post!