Hello, dear conscious parent 😍💟!
Today I want to talk to you about “the other parent”: your current husband/ wife/ partner or your ex (the co-parent).
Married or divorced, you face the dilemma of “What do I do?” when the other parent says, does or reacts VERY DIFFERENTLY from you. For example: one of you is supportive of emotions being expressed, the other can’t stand crying or anger in the house; one of you values free play, the other one values A grades and extracurricular activities; one of you is comfortable setting limits, the other one will say or do anything, your child wants to keep him/her “happy”… Even differences over the small things, such as dinner time, bedtime, giving/receiving gifts and screen time allowance have a big impact over time.
A child caught in the “fire” of oppositional parenting styles, if not supported properly, will grow up to be:
- an angry teenager
- a confused teeanger
- a fearful child/ teenager
- an inauthentic child
- an aggressor or a victim of aggression ( in school, most often; bully or victim)
- a poor student ( lower grades, inability to focus in class, disinterest in learning, even drop-out)
- an isolated teeanger ( afraid to form friendships and trust people)
- a teenager prone to addiction
What can you do if this is the situation in your family today?
My good friend, author and life coach, Laura Sgroi, asked me this question not too long ago in her blog. Here’s what I said in that interview:
“I address this question in my book under Conscious Co-Parenting, which I’m very passionate about because I am a divorced mom. It was very important for me to work on my co-parenting relationship and shift it from toxic and difficult to collaborative, mutually respectful and based on open communication. It didn’t happen overnight, by no means, but it was so worth it! A child loves both mom and dad equally, and it is a child’s birth right to benefit from both parents’ love and connection. Despite popular belief, most married couples are on different pages when it comes to parenting styles. You don’t have to be divorced to need help on how to co-parent consciously. With that said, again, most people don’t like my answer but it is a scientific and spiritual fact: we can’t change anybody but ourselves; we have zero control over what another person does, says, thinks or feels.
So, step one: acceptance. You can’t change your husband/wife or mother-in-law.
Step two: begin your own process of self- inquiry and healing by asking yourself these questions:
- Am I honoring my boundaries and theirs in this relationship?
- Am I honest with them? Do I mean what I say?
- Did we agree ahead of time on protocols for asking for help from each other?
- What blind spots do I bring in this relationship?
- What is this person mirroring back to me, about me?“
(Read the full interview click here) Follow Laura on Instagram @laura.sgroi
But what about the child? How do I help my child, you will ask? Sure:
1) You must do the work on yourself before you “blame and shame” the other parent (read again above!).
2) You must equip yourself with tools to support your child: tools for emotional healing, emotional release, and connection above all else. Take my parenting course, or other courses that you trust. I recommend the Starter Class from Hand in Hand Parenting (click here) .
3) You must build a support system around you. You need a village, your child needs a village. Build that village, otherwise you will break down.
Speaking of my course, here’s what a parent in my Conscious Parent Accelerator Program told me this week: