People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you share children with someone, yours will be a lifetime relationship. Parents who no longer live together have a responsibility to each other and their children to find the harmonious balance between the relationship that was and the relationship that is now required.
Co-parents need not be friends or best buds; however, they must find the way to be good parents. The first requirement is that they clear and release their previous relationship in order to embrace one another as individuals. Use this study guide to set the groundwork for a successful co-parenting relationship.
Is there anything you need or want to say to your ex-partner that you haven't said? If so, write it out until you feel complete. In other words, write everything you want to say.
Do you have any concerns about how your co-parent will interact with the children? If so, write a brief statement outlining each of your concerns.
Review what you have just written. For each concern identified, answer the following:
(a) Is this a real concern for the child(ren), or is it my judgment of the person?
(b) Am I willing to share this concern with the other co-parent? If not, why?
If you are willing to allow your co-parent to interact with the children, what is it that you want the other co-parent to know? Write the main points you want to share.
As a parent, have you always given your children your best? If not, what are you choosing to change or improve? Are you willing to offer your co-parent the same opportunity to improve personally and as a parent?
Is there any support you would request from your co-parent? When will you ask for this support?
Is there anything you need to communicate to the children in order for them to know that they have your permission to be in contact and in a relationship with the other co-parent? If so, describe the conversation below.
Is this a conversation you are ready and willing to have with the children? If not, identify your reasons and what needs to happen in order for you to shift.
If you and your co-parent were to make a pledge, in which the children, their needs and their well-being are priorities, what would you be willing to commit to do (or no longer do) to fulfill the pledge?
Are you willing to ask the same of your co-parent in order to create the pledge? When will you make the request?
Printed from Oprah.com on Friday, December 6, 2013