THE PARENTING TRIANGLE
How to work with your Ex to raise your child.
Parenting can be challenging at the best of times but even more so when you’re trying to co-parent with an ex-partner. Break ups can be difficult and although everyone’s circumstances are different, dealing with your own emotions and possible animosity towards your ex can make organising child arrangements difficult.
But family law agrees that your children need both their parents in their lives. A strong attachment to both parents is the foundation for a healthy and successful future for children.
Even if you and your ex don’t agree on most things, I’m sure you can probably agree, that your children are amongst the most important people in your life, and you likely want to do what is best for them.
Co-parenting means that you put the wellbeing of your children ahead of your personal emotions about your ex. This requires effort, patience, and willingness to put aside those differences for the sake of your children. If you can achieve this, you can create a healthy co-parenting relationship that benefits everyone involved.
The “Parenting Triangle” is a concept that can help parents work together to raise their children. It involves three important aspects: communication, consistency, and compromise.
Effective communication is essential for co-parenting. It works best when you and your ex have open and honest communication about your child’s needs, routines, and any changes that may impact your child. Be clear and respectful in your communication and listen to each other’s perspectives. Communication about your children should be kept separate to other matters, such as finances or other family issues. If you struggle to communicate you can use a parenting app such as this, to help you.
Consistency can be difficult to achieve in today’s busy world. When it comes to co-parenting it can be helpful to try to maintain consistency in your child arrangements. You and your ex should work together to establish consistent routines, rules, and consequences for your child. This can help your child feel more secure and reduce any confusion or anxiety they may feel. For example, putting the agreed child arrangements up on the wall – at a height that your child can easily see – can help with this.
If you want to have the best parenting relationship with your ex, it is essential to be flexible and willing to compromise. You and your ex may have different parenting styles, but it’s important to find common ground and work together for the benefit of your child. Remember that your child’s needs should come first and be willing to make adjustments to your own preferences for the sake of your child’s well-being. You don’t need to take it in turns to compromise with each other. The act of compromising itself will help the parenting relationship grow and help your child.
DO’s and DON’TS
We cannot control the behaviors of others, but we can control how we respond to it.
Here are a few simple do’s and don’ts when it comes to co-parenting with your ex:
- Ask the children to pass on messages to the other parent.
- ‘Interview’ your child when they return from the other parent.
- Say derogatory things about the other parent to them or in front of them.
- Stop the child from seeing the other parent without an essential reason.
- Stop paying child maintenance because you are angry or upset.
- Communicate between yourselves as parents – even if through a book or app
- If you disagree find an alternative method to resolve your dispute, such as family mediation
- Be honest, but be respectful
- Let your children share their opinions, their wishes, and their feelings
- Pay any child maintenance you owe
Read more about the top 10 parenting mistakes made by separated parents HERE
It is important to remember that the children are the ones who will be most affected by the arrangements you put in place and that your actions, both good and bad, will have an impact on their future happiness as they grow up. Remember, family law is focused on the needs of a child – not those of the parent.
This may mean setting aside personal feelings or grudges and working together to create a positive co-parenting relationship. It can also involve seeking the help of professionals such as family mediators; Child Inclusive Mediators or therapists to help you navigate these complex situations.
The government currently runs a voucher scheme to help towards the cost of your joint mediation sessions, up to £500.
Ultimately, putting the well-being of the children first can help create a more positive and stable environment for them to grow and thrive in. It’s not always easy. But done well, your children will thank you for it later.