Five ways to be a better co-parent

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A recent  study by IPSOS supported by the Kenya Breweries Limited revealed that thirty two percent (32%) of minors who drink alcohol are from single parent families. fifty nine percent of these children are raised by single mothers while the other forty one percent are raised by single fathers.

Another study, by Canadian psychologists revealed that forty six percent (46%) of Kenyan women are likely to be single mothers with a majority of such cases being as a result of children born out of wedlock as opposed to divorce.

However, this does not musk the whiff of rising divorce rates in the country leaving parents with one choice, co-parenting. An agreement to raise your children even after a broken relationship in separate homes, using separate resources and bonding with them separately. It is as foreign as it is emotionally baffling and draining. You find yourself wondering what good it does your children, or why this happened in the first place. You find yourself a psychologically distorted mess that is almost incapable of putting themselves together. But you are a co-parent now, with children who do not understand why mummy and daddy live in separate Himes now, and daddy does not stay the night. So how do you make it work?

The child comes first
Sometimes it takes a while, especially for us women to deal with that fact; the one that just stares us in the face when we talk about single motherhood. Love gone sour. And then, we might catch a feeling especially since the very person who hurt us is the one we are raising our child with. It is their child too. And children have the right to know their father. So even if he annoys the hell out of you, or he is super insensitive, weekend with baby still stands. Daddy and daughter/son recreation park visit is still on. It is not about you. And the second you realize that, then you have become a parent. Being a better co-parent starts with being a better parent.

Be kind
Forgive, forget and be kind. Treat the co-parent with the same respect you would like to be accorded by virtue of being a parent. They too have rights to the child. The way you treat the co-parent in front of your child, how you handle disagreements and conflict, will determine how they also treat the parent. If you show them that their parent is to be disrespected, by disregarding their say in raising their child, then you will find that you child too does not accord them the respect they deserve. So help whenever you can, be polite and intensive and keep your end of the bargain so no one points a finger at you. At the end of the day, you are the little person’s role model.

Take initiative and communicate well
Since co-parenting involves the co-parents living in separate homes, Surprise them on their day off by dropping the baby off at their place and leaving so they bond too. Of course, this is not your regular surprise as you will need to call first, but the initiative and care for the co-parent will earn the same level of excitement for both the baby and the co-parent. You could also buy the child what they need without having to ask for the other parent’s half or even for all of it. Help out.Communicate well also with your child. Answer the questions objectively especially those that concern the co-parent. Also try and explain as best you can when you child asks

How come we don’t live with mum/dad yet my friends live with their mum/dad?

What did mum/dad do that was so wrong that you can’t forgive them?

Keep calm and love your child
It is easy to get rallies and to lose your cool. Do not be anything less than calm and collected especially in front of your child. No child should see their mother beak down or make a scene. Besides, getting mad or angry or sad simply takes up valuable energy. Loving and caring for kids, badly needs that energy you are wasting on things that come and go. Let go, and let God.

Be positive
Having a positive outlook towards everything makes getting through the daily hassle so much easier. It is easy to be positive but it should come from a place of self-love and acceptance. It also comes from a place of peace with oneself and with the world. Being positive ensures that no external force ruins your day regardless. It has never hurt anyone’s eyesight, looking on the brighter side of life. Positive thinking is a key attribute especially because you will get a lot of spite from people who do not understand what is is you are doing. What people do not understand, they sometimes choose to hate, and you might be one of these people a couple of times during this journey. It gets better. Stay positive.

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