3 Ways Being a Good Co-Parent Can Backfire in Child Custody
Have you ever felt like you get taken advantage for what you would consider inherently good qualities? They say that no good deed goes unpunished, nice guys finish last and the road to hell is paved good intentions. We see these old adages play themselves out every day in Child Custody cases. If you’re not careful, what you think makes you good at it can you make you bad at it.
The running theme, as you’ll see, is that the Other Side can use, manipulate, exploit the best things about you as a person, especially if you take pride in that quality about yourself. But, that doesn’t mean you have to change. Just recognize the signs and situations ripe for abuse. Then, consider your priorities, be decisive based on them and don’t second guess yourself. That’s the Other Side’s voice in your head talking.
1. Making Peace
Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers…,” but I don’t remember reading about the Man getting taken advantage of either.
Just wanting “everything to be okay” often fails in difficult circumstances for a very simple reason: things are not okay. Things are sub-optimal. Life would be better if two parents lived and loved and raised their children together. That’s what JC, mentioned above, wanted for us.
But you can’t play by the rules of a different game and expect to be effective for yourself and your children in your circumstances. That doesn’t mean you have to fight fire with fire, either. Don’t start fights, don’t finish or settle them…just don’t participate. To be effective in strained Child Custody relationships, you must get comfortable living day to day in a world of unresolved chaos and not worry whether the Other Side is mad at you, mean to you, right, wrong or otherwise. You can’t fix it, and the only way the Other Side will let you think you did is by giving away more of yourself, your money and your time with your children.
Ever feel like you can’t plan anything because you don’t know what the Other Side will say or do regarding, and regardless of, the Child Custody and Visitation schedule? Ever feel like you’re always the one bending over backwards to exchange early or late but when you need a break the Other Side is the one that goes strictly by the Order?
A big part of being a grown-up is controlling and managing your time and schedule effectively. Co-Parents and Caring Relatives are constrained because they have to work within the confines of a Court-ordered schedule, but it’s doable. They often exponentially multiply the stress and chaos of these already tense circumstances by playing it by ear which often turns out to be whoever yells the loudest or makes the other person feel worse will get their way.
Be where you’re supposed to be, when you’re supposed to be there. Follow the order. If there’s not a Custody or Visitation Schedule in a Court Order, you’re at the mercy of those who would guilt-trip, argue and manipulate their way into you losing complete control of your life, your schedule and maybe even your relationship with your child. Sound dramatic? It’s Child Custody, folks.
If there is an Order, don’t deviate from it. Otherwise, your time with your child is never your own. Each weekend brings discussion and drama. Each vacation brings haggling and accusations of selfishness. Your time is yours.
3. Patience / Tolerance
This is a scary one. This may be where a line has been crossed so many times, if only just barely, that a parent or relative caregiver doesn’t even know where the line is anymore. The bad days seem normal and the good days are just the days where there’s not drama, harassment or even emotional abuse or threats. We start to see the world through a distorted lens, live in fear or helplessness, and make decisions accordingly.
Where are you going to draw the line, I mean really? And are you going to enforce the line? Maybe even better, where would the person you were 5 years ago draw the line? Where would the person you want to be 5 years from now draw the line? You’re never going to get there until you decide to think and act like the person you want to be, even if that’s not who you are.
I’m not saying demand perfection in every arena, but identify your absolute priorities then set and hold the bar high. You get to demand the best for your child and hold the Other Side accountable.
This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. If you would like to speak more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can be more effective in your Child Custody case, please visit www.ThinkFoxtrot.com/public_calendars/ to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices. ~SW, Foxtrot