Coparenting familiesTSvBannerParenting isn’t easy. Co-parenting with an ex-partner after breaking up is often complex and most don’t do it well, because often there is a lot of hurt still being dealt with. We want to inspire parents going through separation with stories of those who have managed to put their differences aside, for the sake of their children and future grandchildren. Meet three families who are “co-parenting and killing it”.
After separating, mum Sarah and dad Jay put their differences aside for their daughter Emmette. However, it wasn’t always an easy road, but they got there in the end.
“We have been separated for more than a few years now,” Sarah and Jay told PakMag. “The initial adjustment was quite difficult for the both of us, but we are lucky that our daughter was so young when we separated that it’s all she has really known.”
Although it wasn’t always easy, there was one thing that made the road less bumpy. “Time has made it easier. We always had a great friendship when we were in a relationship together, so it’s nice that we can still get along and have family dinners without a fuss,” Sarah and Jay explained. “There have been ups and downs, but once we put our personal differences aside and acknowledged that we both had the same common goal, it’s been a much better relationship.”
Throughout their journey, Sarah and Jay discovered the importance of transparency. “We have both realised how important it is to be flexible and give and take when it comes to parenting,” Sarah said. “We also offer support of one another’s decisions and are really transparent with the way we communicate and that has made it so much easier.”
Sarah and Jay’s advice for other separated parents is “to be conscious of the way you speak about the other parent in front of your children. Little people have little ears and they can understand so much more than what we give them credit for.”
Although there have been ups and downs throughout the years, Annissa and Brendon’s story proves that putting your differences aside can make a huge positive difference for the sake of their son Logan.
“We’ve been separated for several years,” Annissa explained to PakMag. “In the beginning, the hardest part was dealing with our own heartbreak without wanting any of that pain or anger to be shown to our son. After a lot of fighting, miscommunication and frustration, we decided we needed to focus on one thing. Once we decided to put our differences aside for the sake of Logan’s life and upbringing, it got easier.”
To get to this point, Annissa and Brendon made a few arrangements. “We talk to one another and agreed we can speak to our son at any time,” Annissa told us. “We started making things more involved with both parents and step parents, and now we are really like one big family with one goal – a happy, healthy life for our son.”
Annissa’s advice for other separated parents is “If you have anger, ask yourself if that anger is healthy for you. If the answer is no, then it’s not healthy to your children either. A relationship breakdown is not something you get over in a day, but you need to think with your little one in mind. Decide to be a team, and a team your child can be proud of. What will be, will be.”
Several years after separation, Madeline, her ex-partner Jozef and his current wife Rebecca discovered that communication is the key to co-parenting.
They have decided to share their story with PakMag about their journey together with their children Tyler, Peyton, and their younger sister Lola. “I’m a strong believer that children need to spend equal shared care with Mum and Dad if possible,” Madeline told PakMag. “But it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, not to mention adding a step parent into the mix creates another hurdle you have jump over both emotionally and mentally.”
Now, several years down the track, Madeline explained how they got on the same page. “As a family, we felt it was important for our kids to spend time with both parents in the one place, we never let our kids see us fight nor do we belittle the other or their partners in front of them,” she explained. “I feel our children benefit from seeing us get along, and celebrating milestones, birthdays and special occasions together sets a good example for their own futures.”
After overcoming these hurdles, some beautiful things have come out of the situation. “From divorce I lost a husband, but I also gained a long-life friendship with Rebecca. One of the reasons our family communicates and socialise the way we do is because of the relationship we have built with one another over the years.”
Getting over the hurt, treating each other with respect, getting on the same page, and parenting with a united front is key to being the best co-parents you can be.
If you’re struggling and need some help, ring Parentline on 1300 30 1300.