Featured on Big Blended Family.
If you have a blended family, you have either (a) tried and failed to co-parent with your ex and their spouse or (b) are now successfully co-parenting OR (c) you’ve never really tried out of fear or lack of desire. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my writings for Big Blended Family, I co-parent with my husband, my ex-husband, and my daughters’ step-mother (who is the primary parent in the other household).
Phone calls and texts are helpful, but some situations demand in-person conversations. Because our teenager has thrown us some curve balls in the last few months, and the four of us co-parents were not on the same page about how to deal with it, rather than hunker down separately, we got together.
When there’s tension, so much can be misconstrued from phone conversations and texts. The first co-parenting meeting can be awkward and incomplete, but don’t give up. After several meetings, everyone involved has the opportunity to be more open and trusting, and good things can happen!
Here are a few tried-and-true tips for co-parenting meetings:
1. Choose a neutral place rather than one of your homes. This is not about turf, so don’t let it turn into one. We meet at a restaurant (isn’t food a great social lubricant?).
2. Have a list of what you want to discuss ready. If you get off-topic you might not fully address or resolve the issue(s) at hand, and disagreements are more likely.
3. Leave the children with a sitter. I think parents should be united when approaching the children, so until you are all on the same page, leave them out.
4. If the first meeting does not work, have another. Co-parenting is tough for anyone, even for the best co-parents. Chances are you won’t get it right the first time, and that is okay.
5. Speak to one another in a calm and courteous manner. No raised voices, no sarcasm, no insults and definitely no cursing.
6. Let everyone speak. Do not interrupt or talk over any of the other parents.
The MAJOR benefit of co-parenting meetings is that it aides in presenting a united front to the children, which leads to greater consistency and security for them.
I would love to hear your stories about co-parenting meetings! Have you tried meeting yet? Was it a success or a failure? If you have not yet met, is there one person or a certain barrier holding you back?
Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of ten and fourteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com, and www.bigblendedfamily.com. She is a regular writer on www.herviewfromhome.com, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.