I have spent nearly four decades working with parents who are frustrated and angry about the lack of cooperation from their child’s coParent.
After a lot of thought, research, and experience I have arrived at an important conclusion: forcing, mandating and punishing uncooperative and misbehaving coParents has fleeting success at best. The effort to force a coParent to toe the line is very costly and exhausting for the minimal and short-lived results that are normally achieved. There must be a way for parents living separately to engage in child-focused and thoughtful parenting regardless of the amount of cooperation between them.
No one cares more about your quality of life or your child’s welfare more than you do. You will feel more successful as a parent if you can expend your time and resources on nurturing your child. Self-centered coParenting is a method for empowering yourself to change the situation in ways that benefit you and your child. Stop trying to change the coParent and concentrate on what is in your own control.
Learn to harness the tools in your control to make a difference. Focusing on empowering yourself will increase your confidence that you are improving the quality of parenting your child receives regardless of what the coParent does or doesn’t do. First and foremost, you need to build a strong and positive relationship with your child. You are probably wondering how this gets the coParent to cooperate. We’ll get into that, but first here is what we mean by “self-centered coParenting.”
A child-centered way of raising your child with a coParent who lives independently, by focusing your thoughts, decisions, and actions on things within your own control instead of trying to control the other parent.
Self-centered means being in control of your own thought process, ready to make thoughtful positive choices instead of merely reacting, and taking effective action when necessary to benefit your child. Paying more attention to parenting and less to conflict with the coParent gives you breathing room to strengthen your relationship with your child and be the kind of parent that you really find fulfilling.