May 26, 2020
Brian Mayer talks about shared parenting and how you should be
guided by 3 high level principles in everything you do when it
comes to sharing parenting with your ex-spouse. In addition
to today’s episode, don’t forget to pick up my free Shared Parenting
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of great information about upcoming shows and other blended family
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- Shared Parenting or Co-Parenting is definitely a
relatively new term when it comes to parenting kids from a
divorce. It used to be that one person had primary
or even sole custody and could drive most of the decisions.
Or sometimes it was called shared custody. I suppose that has
primary and sole custody has it’s benefits when done properly, but
the courts found that this was often not the best for the
- Society and the legal system determined at some point
that giving both parents an equal say in the child’s life was best
for everyone including the parents and the children.
There are of course issues with this approach as well in that
sometimes parents can get a bit gridlocked sometimes on gray areas
that maybe aren’t spelled out so much in the legal
- So while the legal system is probably got it right,
when you get away from it and deal with day to day and the
differences of opinion with your ex-spouse, it can
- When I was going through my divorce, we were for the
most part amicable but I was considered to have primary custody and
had more power in decision making. I do believe with
one exception which I will talk about in a minute that I used my
power wisely and to the benefit of everyone involved.
- I suppose if I am transparent with you, the one mistake
I made involved me moving away to entirely different
state. Now it wasn’t necessarily the move that
caused the issue but what happened the first summer
- So about 3 years after my separation and 2 years after
the divorce was finalized, I was not emotionally doing
well. I decided that I needed a change. That
change was very drastic. I decided to move from Ohio to
Florida. Since I had primary custody of my daughter at that
time and that my ex-wife was very friendly about it, the move went
forward without much of a hitch.
- Now you could argue that this is where the problem
existed, but it really occurred during that first full
summer. Since the distance was so great, we made an
agreement that my daughter would come back every Christmas and also
every summer. That first summer, I had a problem with my 5
year old daughter being gone for 12 weeks, so we made a deal to
have her only be gone for 6 weeks.
- Looking back I was scared that my daughter would come
back changed or no longer want to be with me. My
ex-wife fought me on doing this but eventually relented. But
much to my surprise my daughter came back just fine and from there
I was more willing to allow her to spend the entire summer with her
- Obviously that was a different time and different
circumstances and most likely as you are listening there probably
is more of a shared situation going where maybe one of you does not
have any more authority or power than the
- So all this being said I want to give you 3 somewhat broad
principles to guide your dealing with your ex-spouse when it comes
to shared parenting. To get much more concrete tips, check
out my free Shared Parenting
Checklist that will add to what we are going to talk about
- Consistency – Make sure you are as consistent
in everything you do. If you have a plan that has been laid
out then stick to it as much as you can. Obviously if things
have been laid out by the courts then do that. Of course be
flexible when you can, but most “experts” agree that consistency is
best for both you, your ex-spouse and most of all the kids.
- Communicate – Always communicate what is
happening with your children at your home and what an ex-spouse
might need to watch out for including homework that may need to get
done, medications to be taken, moods or attitudes the child is in,
or big changes in life such as loss of friends or loved
- Calm – Always remain calm. You may do
all things consistently, you may communicate everything
appropriately and it still may not work. You might be met
with a resistant or angry ex-spouse. As best you can be
calm. Now be careful about your calmness coming off as
flippant. Sometimes if it appears you could care less about
your spouse’s anger, this can sometimes fuel it even further.
So there is a balance of keeping your calm and recognizing it is
not easy for either of you.
- It may not go perfectly, but if you practice Consistency,
Communication, and Calm it typically can go in a much better
direction than it would otherwise when it comes to shared
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