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The Remarried Life


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 Checklist and get access to my email newsletter to get all kind of great information about upcoming shows and other blended family resources.  We hope you are inspired by today’s message.  For more information and additional resources please visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com

Today's Goodies

  • 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 children. 
  • 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 documents. 
  • 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 get hairy!
  • 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 away. 
  • 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 mom. 
  • 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 other. 
  • 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 now. 
    • 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 ones. 
    • 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 parenting.  

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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it is something you do.  Talk to you next week unless you are binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in about a minute!  Take care.