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How to Co-Parent Successfully After a Breakup.

The 5 Gems to Co-parenting.

Love does not always last forever. In most cases, friends become lovers, and life happens, then lovers become exes. Most exes turn into enemies, enemies who unfortunately have to share one thing forever - the children they birthed and have to raise together. How exes manage their co-parenting relationship can make or break their children. Here are the 5 gems to co-parenting.

1. The Best Interest of the Child.

When you were in a relationship, it was all about the two of you. But since you are no longer lovers and you have become parents together, it’s now all about the child. Sometimes you don’t feel like calling your ex, but if that’s the only means for you to communicate with your child, you have to make that call. Sometimes you are so mad at your ex that you want to deny him access to his child, but it’s the child who needs to see his father more than the father needs to see his child.

If you suspect that your daughter is being or about be abused by her stepfather, you need to follow that up until you follow it through to ensure that your daughter is out of danger. As parents, you need to think beyond yourselves and put the best interest of the child at the centre of your focus.

2. Maturity for Both Parents.

Exes can be childish sometimes. They tend to be bitter and spiteful towards each to the extent that they forget to be responsible adults. If you know that your ex has found new love and they are on a vacation, you don’t have to interrupt them every minute about the child on things that can wait. It is not in the interest of the children to keep throwing them into your ex’s vacation just to ensure that they have a hard time enjoying themselves.

You need to accept when your ex has moved on, and you need to be mature about how you handle your co-parenting relationship when there’s new love involved. The fact that your ex couldn’t be happy with you doesn’t mean they can’t be happy without you, and it takes maturity to accept that and still afford your children the benefit of having both parents playing their roles to ensure that they are well taken care of.

3. Finding Common Ground.

Lovers usually break up because of irreconcilable differences. But as parents, exes must put their differences aside and find common on how to best raise their children together. This time around, it’s no longer about them and what they prefer, it’s about the children and what’s best for them. No matter how much of enemies you have become, you need to find ways to get along for the sake of the children you both have no choice but to raise together.

4. Never Use the Children as Weapons Against Each Other.

Exes are usually enemies; but because they have no other means to hurt each other, some resort to using their children as weapons against each other. You need to stop badmouthing your ex to your children with the intention to turn them against their other parent. It can be too overwhelming for children to keep on hearing bad things about the person they hold so dear in their hearts. Furthermore, alienating your ex from his children hurts the children more than it hurts him, and so is refusing to spend time with your children with the intent to hurt their mother. It hurts the children more.

You may mean nothing to each other as exes, but you both mean everything to your children - always remember that whenever you want to put them through the pain of having to be used as ammunition to hurt their other parent. If the parents are at war, the children should never be used as weapons. Whenever you use your children to hurt their other parent, it is the children that get hurt.

5. Do Not Try to Replace the Other Parent with the New Partner.

Some parents introduce their new lovers to their children as their new mother (or new father), and they do this with the intention to replace their children’s other biological parent. They even force their children to call their new lovers “Mommy” or “Daddy.” This makes children feel like they are being forced to abandon their other biological parent, and it can put them through unbearable pain deep inside. It causes them to experience a deep sense of loss, which is agonising to them. When you introduce your new partner to your children, it is very important that you assure them that the new partner is not replacing their other parent.

Introduce your new partner not as a replacement of the other parent, but as an extension of the other parent when they are with you. The function of your new lover is not to replace the other biological parent, but to step in as a parent when the child is with you and not with the other biological parent - that’s why we call them step-parents.

What it takes for a Co-parenting Relationship to Work.

It takes both parents to be able to think beyond themselves for a co-parenting relationship to work. You don’t have to go back to being lovers to make good parents. You can be bad exes and still be good parents together; but you need to both think beyond yourselves, because this time around, it’s not about you. Never let the enmity between the two of you put your children in harms way.

Remember that you are exes to each other, but none of you can be an ex to your children. That being said, it is the mother’s responsibility to give the father access to his children, and it is the father’s responsibility not to abandoned his children but spend time with them and be an ever-present part of their upbringing.

The effects on Children When Parents are not Able to Get Along.

When two parents don’t get along, it is the children that suffer. The breakup between the parents is already bad enough for the children, and failure for parents to get along makes it even worse for the children. Some children grow up with anger against one or both of their parents, and they take it out on the people who were not even there when their parents hurt them.

Some children grow up with resentment and a deep sense of abandonment, which usually makes them feel like they are unworthy of love or acceptance. As a result, children grow up to become adults who settle for far less than they deserve in their relationships. They also tend to struggle holding relationships together for fear of being rejected, neglected, or abandoned. It is easier to protect the child than to heal the adult; but because we are failing to protect our children - even from our own disagreements as parents - we find ourselves having to heal the adult.

A child whose parents are not getting along is likely to become an adult who struggles to keep their life, relationships and family together. When it comes to co-parenting, it is the child’s inherent right for their parents to get along.

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