Peace Requires Acceptance

I wish I had a dollar for every co-parent who has told me they “just want peace” in their co-parent relationship. If the other parent is not going to give it to you willingly, you may have to rely on acceptance in order to create it for yourself. To put it bluntly, whomever you intentionally or unintentionally chose to have a child with that fateful night many years ago, has a legal right to be a parent, even if you have now decided it was a poor choice. The law protects parental rights and they are very difficult to remove without hard evidence and lots of professional involvement. Why? Because everyone knows that children benefit greatly from having access to BOTH parents, even if one of them is not that great. We spend a lot of time in our parenting classes talking about the importance of at least one parent being stable, dependable, consistent and predictable. But that doesn’t mean they only need ONE parent. They need one to be those things, but having access to both parts of themselves is key to their identity formation as children. Of course, if one parent is found to be abusive or harmful to their children, then the alternative of having only one parent, or surrogate parents, to fill the role is necessary. But parents should never assume a child should discard a parent simply because he or she is not as capable as the other. It’s way more complicated emotionally and psychologically for your children than simply who appears to be the better parent. With that said, as co-parents emerge from difficult divorces or custody battles, they would do well to accept who they are co-parenting with at face value. They are who they are and no amount of angry texts, condescending emails, or modified court orders are going to change them. Just accept they are not likely to be as good as you want them to be, nor are they likely to agree with the way you conduct your home or your parenting style. Give it up. Just be what your children need you to be in your own home and muddle through the best you can with what you feel are the many deficiencies of your co-parent. Trying to get more than you have power to control will just send the message to your child that he/she is not good enough either because of who they come from. The long-term consequences of that will mess with your sense of parental peace in more ways than you can imagine.