What happens in your relationship with your child when the separated parents cannot agree? Having to visit two different homes has to be difficult, if visitation is in place. Could you imagine taking a vacation every couple of weeks for the weekend? Sure, it would be great for us but for kids with pets, toys, friends and even rules, it’s a completely new world. You may have noticed that when your child returns home there is typically a few hours of readjustment, sort of like having a different gravitational pull with different rules to abide by, and a different set of people.
Cooperation is imperative for everyone’s comfort. What happens when the dominating male continues to try to rule your roost from his own home? This may seem especially difficult in a formerly abusive and controlling relationship. Some of us can play coy for a while, for the sake of making our kids’ lives easier, and maybe think it will make our lives easier too. It will for a while but have you heard about “testing the waters” and “give him an inch and he’ll take a mile?” This happens if you’re trying so hard not to make waves that soon the water is gone and you’re lying on the parched sand with an oar desperately clutched in your hand, wondering what happened.
Here’s the thing–it’s all about your child! It isn’t about how well the two adults get along, that’s all in the past! If you both have the child’s well-being in mind, you can agree on most everything and agree to disagree on the rest. When a difference of opinion occurs, you need to ask yourself if it’s for the sake of the child or the convenience of the parents. Often you will find this the biggest issue in disagreements, plain and simple inconveniences, where neither parent will budge. Now what can you do when you determine this is the issue?
Address it straight out. When you’re not accustomed to being bold, remember it is for your child and you are not obligated anymore to the ex. Later your child is going to find out what happened, especially if your lines of communication are open. Just make sure you are calm and reserved during the discussion. NEVER sling mud when you’re talking to your child about the other parent! This can damage the child, and you certainly would rather have your child’s respect. But if your child is mature enough to have a conversation, use easy terms and make sure to get feedback during the discussion so you can address your child’s feelings as well. Be understood and KISS (Keep It Simple, Simon) it. There’s no need to go into nonsense rhetoric, or even feelings, other than stating you are unhappy or relieved. You may also want to say a couple of good things about the ex to maintain your credibility with your child. You may have to stretch really far, just to make sure your child understands it isn’t the ex himself you have issues with, but the two of you cannot agree on a subject. Nobody can agree on everything.
In answer to the question; being fair means exactly what it sounds like, 50/50, and not caving in! Giving up is not fair to you or your child! It isn’t even fair to the ex. Remember to put the needs of your child first! After all, is it your child’s fault things didn’t work out, or the two thinking adults?