For me to write on this subject certainly opens a can of worms. Worms are like problems, irritants, difficulties, and who likes those? Yet as single moms, they’re often unavoidable.
I know I had my “worms” to deal with in co-parenting. One of them was the frustration I felt during our separation when my former husband would pick up Jason and Sara for the weekend, ring the doorbell and then walk right in the front door. I struggled, This doesn’t feel right. If you want the privilege to roam around the living room, then you need to move back in this place with your family. We all miss you. I felt violated. Goodness. My counselor had to help me figure this one out!
Here’s a few ABC’s about keeping the peace that might be helpful with conflict resolution in general. Make these guidelines a priority.
A– Always put the kids first. For their sake, put aside your personal emotions and everything that’s unfair. After all, you might not be able to “fix” it, but you can certainly do more damage.
B– Be open to changes. I know it’s hard to let go of the little things, but keep in mind: major on the majors, and minor on the minors. Sometimes we let ourselves stay in a tizzy when we just need to move on.
C– Communicate as respectfully as possible. Remember, he is your kids’ dad. Children want to love both parents. Give them that opportunity. If you don’t, I promise it will turn on you later.
D– Decide. It’s ok to dislike your former spouse’s behavior, but you can’t dislike him as a person. You’ll need to yield this one to God over and over. Seeing him through God’s eyes puts a fresh perspective on everything.
Z– What happened to E-Y? I skipped them. Z – ZIP your mouth. Don’t hit below the belt with your words in front of your children about their dad. Why? It does three things: poisons the child, fuels your anger and displeases God.
So surrender. Let the worms out of your can by praying and asking God to help you find new ways to communicate well. Swallow what’s destructive (your pride, past grievances, the petty stuff) and make room for your heavenly Father to establish a resolution that works for all parties. A win-win for everyone is good.
(In my upcoming book for single mothers – The Single Mom and Her Roller Coaster Emotions endorsed by Focus on the Family, I’ve shared additional insights in how to secure emotional and spiritual wholeness.)