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New Year Resolutions for Co-Parents

It's a new year, a time when many of us resolve to take better care of ourselves by eating better and getting more exercise (how is that going?). For separated parents, coming out of the holiday period can be an excellent opportunity to make resolutions that will improve your co-parenting. None of the following resolutions require the cooperation of your co-parent but they can have a positive impact on your and your children’s well-being. Plus, they don’t require a gym membership.


image shows a blue sky with clouds forming the words hello 2024!

  1. Resolve to recruit neutral people to help you through the challenges you are facing. Friends and family provide close and supportive comfort but, they may not provide the objectivity you need to get through this year’s challenges. Mediators or collaborative lawyers are a great first step.

  2. Resolve to think things through from your children’s perspective. This resolution can broaden your understanding of what it is like to be a child living in two homes. For example, before you request a schedule change consider how your children would feel if you were successful, if you were unsuccessful. Apply the same consideration to other practices such as sending messages through your child, or discouraging their happiness at being with the other parent.

  3. Resolve to take the long view. Raising children is a marathon but it can be hard not to get wrapped up in the immediacy of your current situation. Taking the long view may mean asking yourself if you or your child will remember this occasion in 5 or 10 years, and if so, what do you want your children to say about how you handled this situation? Taking the long view will help you clarify the importance of the situation you are dealing with. 

  4. Resolve to improve your communication. If you struggle to stay polite in your communication, try asking ChatGPT or another AI option to rewrite your email in a polite tone. Try adding prefixes to your messages so it is clear when you are sharing information (FYI) and when you are asking for a response (PR). Or schedule the parenting meeting you have been neglecting for a while. 


5. Resolve to (Re) educate yourself. Whether you are newly separated or have been co-parenting for a while, getting up-to-date information or a fresh perspective on children of divorce and co-parenting can't hurt. There is lots of good information available so consider the following: 

  • Take a course such as New Ways for Families.* An online, on-demand course teaching four key skills that make your co-parenting less conflictual, and therefore your children’s lives healthier. Coaching sessions are available to practice or reinforce the skills you have learned. 

  • Read a book such as the just published “Cooperative Co-parenting for Secure Kids: The Attachment Theory Guide to Raising Kids in Two Homes” by Aurisha Smolarski or the classic Helping your kids cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way” by M. Gary Neuman and Patricia Romanowski. 

  • · Listen to a podcast such as “The Divorce and Beyond Podcast with Susan Guthrie”https://divorceandbeyondpod.com/, “Co-Parent Dilemmas with Diane Dierks and Rick Voyles” https://www.cpdilemmas.com/ or In the Blend with Laura Jenkins”https://intheblend.com.au/

Whatever resolutions you make, I hope they support your kids in navigating life in two homes and smooth out the bumps in your co-parenting relationship. 



*More information on the New Ways for Families program can be found here https://www.felstiner.com/services

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