To Put your Child First, Just say “Yes!”
By SUSAN GRIFFIN
Some parents keep the conflict in the family home going because they refuse to move out. They are concerned about the STATUS QUO in terms of parenting and property. So they stay in the family home, refusing to move, so that they can tell the judge “but your honor I was the one who took my child to the doctor last week!” Of course that parent is not going to tell the judge that, until last week, the parent didn’t even know the name of the doctor or, simply that the other parent always had to do it because of different work schedules. Parenting tasks, like all household tasks, are typically shared by parents with each parent taking primary responsibility for some tasks.
Or the parent is focused on property “I don’t want to be accused of abandoning the home because it will be used against me!”
There are laws in place to protect parents when they leave the home to reduce the conflict. The single most important protection you have is to reach out regularly and respectfully to request time with your children. That’s it. Use email so there is a record for the court. Make your communication brief, clear, focused only on possible days and times, and do not judge, preach, chastise, or blend any adult concerns with co-parenting needs.
Moms and Dads can set the tone for positive parenting and cooperative co-parenting by the way they leave the home and the way they communicate about the children. Use email so there is a record of your approach to co-parenting and a record of your efforts to stay connected to your children.
Don’t try to make excuses about the status quo or property rights in order to justify your decision to continue to expose your children to hostility and conflict in the family.
Say yes whenever possible. If your co-parent asks for financial assistance for activities, school, daycare, dental or medical care, or therapy/counseling, JUST SAY YES! Don’t say no because you don’t want it used against you. Put your child first and familiarize yourself with the laws about legal custody and best interest of the child.
Simply put…you can get a second job, you can make more money, you can figure out the financial challenges. You cannot go back and protect your child’s physical, emotional, psychological, and neurological development. You have one chance every day to protect your child. You have one chance every day to affirm your child’s need to have a relationship with both parents. You have one chance every day to take the high road and be a moral, ethical, and kind person. The breakup of the family is an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). Only a caring parent can control just how much adversity a child has to endure.
The goal legally and morally is for parents to share equally in caring for their children. Assume your fair share of the responsibility and more if you need to because it is for your child and his or her safety and care, not for the comfort of you or your co-parent.
Put your child first. If you are so intent on making your parenting decisions in the context of litigation, your child, most likely, suffer. Make your parenting decision in the context of parental responsibility to safeguard your child’s right to have a childhood.
Protecting your child’s right to a joyful and loving childhood is the most important responsibility a parent has.