What Can I Do My Top My Four-Year-Old Throws Tantrums Shared Parenting Business – 6 Top Tips to Support Shared Parenting After Separation

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Shared Parenting Business – 6 Top Tips to Support Shared Parenting After Separation

– He doesn’t really want to share the care of the children; he just wants to get to me!’

‘She doesn’t see what this is doing to the children; we don’t communicate anymore…’

“We were fine with sharing the care of the children until I re-partnered…”

Familiar words from separated or divorced parents – as a family dispute resolution practitioner, I hear stories of bitter disputes over joint custody, child support and post-separation parenting issues. Parents can get caught up in their own pain and anger with each other when the separation is still raw and recent. Or maybe parents made relatively amicable parenting arrangements that worked well for years until one parent started a new relationship. Suddenly all hell broke loose and now the separated parents didn’t seem to “go together to get along” anymore.

Reframe the image

If this image looks all too familiar to you as a separated parent, it might help if you reframe it. Instead of struggling with the idea of ​​managing a sour personal relationship, imagine this: your post-divorce parenting is a business in which you and your former partner share the manager’s job.

Assets or liabilities on a balance sheet may not have much to do with your toddler’s tantrums, or your teenager’s demands to go to that all-night party. How can a business model help you with the emotional highs and lows of daily life as a separated parent? Lynn Grodzki, a business coach for therapists in private practice, talks about “nurturing” your business as a parent. Well, I suggest you run your parenting like a business. To do this, you need to do some advance planning!

The importance of planning

It’s often said that when we fail to plan, we plan to fail — and in an economic downturn, businesses must plan carefully to manage risk. Lynn Grodzki describes “risk reduction” as the process of evaluating the dangers and then taking steps to minimize the losses or potential losses to your business. As a separated parent, you can do the same, and here’s how to do it. (The following tips are loosely based on Lynn Grodzki’s advice to entrepreneurs.)

Six Top Tips to Reduce Your Parenting Risks after Divorce

1. A written ‘business plan’ – having a written parenting plan or agreement can help you co-manage the business of parenting after separation. A business plan allows you to review your business practices and goals. A parenting plan allows you to track what you both agreed to do as parents.

2. Keep a cash reserve for operating expenses – this is often easier said than done in tough economic times, for both businesses and parents. However, in both cases it pays to save when you can. And just as “good will” is important in business, it is also important in parenting. Business owners can put a dollar value on ‘goodwill’, and know how important it is to long-term sustainability. As co-managers of parenting, both parents can build shared reserves of “good will” in how they work together as parents. This can give you both some “emotional capital” to draw on during the tough times (see Tip 4).

3. Good record keeping – many businesses have suffered from poor record keeping. Your parent business will benefit from good written records. Many parents find it helpful to use a communication book that is passed back and forth as children move from one household to another. (This avoids the risk of passing messages through your children. Remember that the children are not the managers in this business!)

4. Contingency planning: averaging your profit and loss over time – you may have heard of amortization or depreciation of trading cost. This occurs when the cost of a real or intangible asset is averaged, or written off, over a period of time. As co-managers of parenting, you and the other parent can have many years of parenting ahead of you until your children are independent adults. It takes endurance to sit with the discomfort of the difficult times when you may feel like you are “doing business” in a hostile environment. It’s worth remembering that times can and will change.

5. Self-care when the business is up to you – the business of co-parenting depends on each parent’s ability to give time and energy to their responsibilities. To do that, and to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself. A healthy diet, adequate exercise, enough sleep, and keeping in touch with your doctor for regular checkups as needed; these steps will help you manage the risks of ill health.

6. Continue your insurance – some business partners maintain “key person” life insurance on each other in case the loss of a business partner could affect the financial security of the business. You can also look at your ability to work together as parents as “insurance” for your business. The more effectively you can co-parent, the less risk there is that your co-parent business will go out of business.

Of course, you should also take legal and financial advice about your individual situation, as needed. However, these business tips could help you keep your co-parenting business afloat in tough times, and protect your children from exposure to conflict between their parents.

How to make these tips work for you!

*Family dispute resolution is a mediation process that can help you and the other parent talk about your parenting issues and come up with a written parenting agreement. A family dispute resolution practitioner can help you identify the issues and focus on your children’s best interests.

*A parental agreement could include things like the time spent with each parent’s children; communication; transportation arrangements; school holiday arrangements; special days such as Christmas, Easter and other significant family or religious occasions.

*Emails and text messages are useful as written records. If you make verbal arrangements with the other parent, confirm them with a polite text message or email, just as you would in a business setting. It all helps to avoid costly last-minute misunderstandings.

*’Take away’ some emotional costs over time. If you could factor in all the ‘intangible assets’ of co-parenting over the next five years, as your children grow up, your parenting balance sheet could show a benefit for your children over time. Try keeping a journal, or use the expressive writing exercises described by Dr. James W. Pennebaker in his book ‘Opening up: The healing power of expressing emotions’.

*Self-care: enroll in a new activity group, or take adult education. The “downtime” of parenting can replenish your spirits and give you more energy. If you feel depressed, anxious or angry, talk to your doctor, who may recommend other supports such as counseling or medication.

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