CO-PARENTING: WHAT NOT TO DO
These things harm your child emotionally:
Don’t make ANY derogatory comments regarding the other parent.
Don’t place your child in the middle – no asking them to carry hostile messages or ask if there can be schedule changes. Don’t make children choose between their parents.
Don’t inhibit your child from making positive comments about the other parent….they need to feel safe about loving and respecting both parents.
Don’t discuss litigation issues in front of or with the child.
Don’t make assumptions. You will most likely assume the worst. You don’t know what is going on in his/her life any longer. Go to the source and ask if you must (kids don’t always report correctly).
Don’t take it (things your ex does or says) personally. It may have nothing to do with you.
IF YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN’T GET ALONG WITH YOUR EX:
Arrange to have minimal interaction between you.
Attempt to make joint decisions only when major decisions must be made.
Information about medical appointments, school reports and activities limited to notification, not discussions.
Bite your tongue.
Life is not fair…accept that and deal with it.
Divorced parents owe it to their children to put their best effort forward when it comes to dealing with the other parent. Here are a few tips to help you co-parent effectively:
1) Consider The Best Interests of the Child: look through your child’s eyes.
2) Integrity: honor your agreements. Do what you said you were going to do. Be respectful. No power struggles. Be a good role model for your child(ren).
3) Healthy Communication: Be brief, be friendly, be informative, come up with options that the other parent may find agreeable. No threats, sarcasm, criticism.
4) Maintain Boundaries regarding the other parents’ time, space, privacy, new relationships, career.
5) Manage Your Emotions: don’t let the other parent push your buttons…disengage when necessary.
6) Be Responsible.
7) Be Cooperative.
8) Focus on the Future: don’t dwell on what you believe happened in the past.
Next, I will blog about the behaviors you shouldn't do as divorced/separated parents.
"I don't have time". How many times have we repeated that phrase over the past week, month or year? We all have "time"; in fact, we all have 168 hours in every week. The important part is how we choose to use that time.
If we remove the 8 hours a day for sleeping (56 hours) and 50 hours a week for working and commuting, we still have 62 hours a week for "other things". If you are struggling to think of how you are spending this time, it may help to keep a time log. Of course, there are APPS out there for you to use to keep track of your time if you aren't sure how to begin.
One of the things I have found is that people typically believe it will take them longer to do some chores than it really does. For example, emptying the dishwasher takes me a minute (I have timed it) and folding a load of laundry takes me less than two minutes.
Of course, we tend to waste alot of time by multi-tasking and losing track of what we were trying to accomplish. Time is wasted on "surfing the internet", shopping online, and checking social media or emails. For example, doing any of these things 10 times a day for 6 minutes adds up to 1 hour a day...the time you could spend exercising that you claim you just don't have time for.
So, remember that the hours you have available can be spent doing what is important to you....spending time with family, exercising, or participating in a hobby. The bottom line is, you are choosing your priority during that time. When you look at your time log are you satisfied with the choices you are making?
Here are some New Year Goals that will keep you healthy emotionally, socially, mentally and spiritually:
The holidays can be a time for families to bond, create traditions, have fun together, and most of all to show one another how much you appreciate and love them. Unfortunately, many times holidays are a cause of stress. The following "ABCs" are ideas to help you lessen your stress during this season.
ASSIGN TASKS TO OTHERS
COOK IN ADVANCE
FOCUS ON FUN
GROCERY SHOP WITH A LIST
IMPROVE SLEEP HABITS
KEEP IT SIMPLE
MANAGE YOUR TIME WISELY
PICK YOUR BATTLES
QUIET TIME FOR YOURSELF
REFLECT ON PRIORITIES
STREAMLINE GIFT GIVING
TIME WITH LOVED ONES
XANAX (ho ho—just checking to see if you are reading this---with a valid prescription only please)
YES TO LESS STRESS
A national poll found that 65% of people report they do not get enough sleep
You may be sleep deprived if….
• You sleep through the alarm clock.
• You have morning grogginess.
• You use caffeine to wake you up or to help you stay awake during the day.
• You have difficulty concentrating or are forgetful.
• You turn down social engagements because of fatigue.
• You find it difficult to keep your eyes open while driving at night.
• You fall asleep within 5 minutes of going to bed.
• You are irritable with family members and co-workers.
• It takes you longer to get things done.
• You experience the mid-afternoon slump.
• You are tired all the time or have trouble staying awake in class.
Sleep hygiene is important to your physical and psychological well being. In addition to the above, not getting enough sleep results in:
• Slow response time, decreased reflexes, hand tremors; high blood pressure
• Decreased immune function (more colds, flu); decreased body temperature
• Stomach problems (heartburn, indigestion); menstrual irregularities
• Mood swings; irritability; impatience; anxiety; depression
• Impaired judgment; increased errors or accidents (esp. traffic)
To get a good night’s rest…
Do not skip meals. Consume 3 meals and 2 snacks during the day. Consume smaller meals as the day progresses.
Do not go to bed hungry or full; eat a light evening meal (this should be the smallest meal of the day). Eat your last snack one hour before bed.
Meals should be moderately low in fat, but have a good mix of protein and carbohydrate for satiety.
Avoid caffeine after 6 PM – drink herbal tea or decaffeinated coffee or sodas
Avoid alcohol and drugs – alcohol may put you to sleep quicker, but it has negative effects in the second half of sleep.
Do not nap during the day.
Get at least 20 minutes of exercise per day
Reduce your stress by using relaxation techniques such as Yoga, meditation
Years of research from the National Marriage Project found that dating helps marriages become stronger, healthier and happier. Today’s couples increasingly expect high levels of intimacy, communication, emotional support and fulfillment from their relationship. One of the ways we can do this is to make sure we spend time alone with our spouse. In other words, go on “dates”.
In addition, couples that try new, fun, active, or exciting things together begin to view their relationship in the same way. Dating ought to be on a regular basis, ideally once a week but no less than once a month. Making the effort to plan these nights (or days) is an investment in your relationship that will pay off for your children and for your future. Both partners should participate in planning.
Plan it for a time where both parties are energized and excited about the “date” and no one is too tired. This is a time to be able to talk and laugh and be yourselves. It is an opportunity to connect again and remind each other why you are still together.
Communication is important because over time, we and our relationships continue to change and develop and we experience new challenges and problems. Don’t just talk about the mundane or work or children. Converse about all kinds of topics and be inquisitive; the way you would with someone new. Ask questions about your partner’s dreams, goals, and desires.
So, call up those babysitters—family, grandparents, neighbors, friends (take turns keeping each others’ kids), day care workers, or a sitting service—and go out on a date. Here are some suggestions:
take a drive and explore your own city or nearby towns.
take a picnic to the beach or park
listen to a new type of music (concert or cd)
go out for dessert and coffee
stay home (enjoy your pool, music, work on a project)
have a tech free night
be near/on the water: gulf, lake, river and moonlight
take a class together
rent a kayak, sailboat or canoe
go to a comedy club
play golf or mini-golf
rock wall climbing
go to a sporting event (find cheap seats)
go to a local art show, concert in the park, renaissance festival, oktoberfest, seafood festival, jazz festival
The 7 deadly habits are behaviors that we do in relationships which over time will destroy the connection we have with the other person. These habits were introduced by William Glasser who wrote the book Choice Theory.
7 DEADLY HABITS
BRIBING OR REWARDING TO CONTROL
All of the above habits exert external control over others--you are taking away their choices or their freedom. Getting rid of these is central to our mental health and healthy relationships.
The following habits improve all relationships:
7 CARING HABITS
THESE HABITS ARE NOT CONTROLLING. YOU ARE LETTING OTHERS LIVE THEIR OWN LIVES. THE PEOPLE WHO USE THESE HABITS ARE HAPPIER THAN MOST OTHERS.
Throughout the school years, from kindergarten through high school we are concerned about our children succeeding. Therefore, we have many expectations of them. Sometimes, our expectations are unrealistic or unreasonable and we end up discouraging and criticizing our children instead of encouraging them and allowing them to succeed on their own.
Encouragement focuses on effort or improvement, rather than strictly on outcomes. Encouragement is recognizing, accepting, and conveying the faith you have in your child. When we use encouragement, we infuse life into them rather than pulling the life out of them.
Using encouragement gives a child a sense of self-respect and tests their strength and ability. Then, they are able to feel a sense of accomplishment when they do things on their own, discover their abilities, make their own decisions, and make meaningful contributions.
"I think you can do it" "Here, let me do that for you"
"You have what it takes" "Be careful; it's dangerous"
"You're a hard worker" "Don't forget your assignment"
"What do you think?" "Let me give you some advice"
"I could use your help" "When you're older, you can help"
"It looks like a problem occurred. "I told you to be careful"
What can we do to solve the problem?"
If a child has confidence, he will function. If he becomes demoralized, discouraged, or doubtful of himself, he will feel useless, discouraged, and become deficient and maladjusted.
Most adults are skilled at discouragement, having received more than their share. We have learned how to yell, threaten, nag, interrogate, criticize, reward, punish, and isolate when problems arise. As much as teachers and parents love children, we often end up treating them with little trust and respect.
In pointing out parents' mistakes, I don't infer criticism. We must learn from our mistakes. Don't beat yourself up or become discouraged parents. Have the courage to try different techniques. Remember what worked or was good. We can't be perfect parents but there is room for improvement.
Here are a couple of suggestions for a healthy marriage:
Make time commitment of at least 15 minutes a day with your partner.
Go on a date a minimum of once a month.
Except life will be chaotic, everything won’t get done. One of you may have to say “no” to something or being somewhere.
Share equally in household duties including errands and child care/parenting.