In Guyana as in other countries, it is very difficult to co-parent, especially if the parents do not get along with one another. Co-parenting is most difficult during holidays which are traditionally a time for the celebration with family. But when there is no longer a big, happy and united family as in the case of divorced or separated parents, co-parenting can be frustrating and overwhelming.
There are always fights over who gets the child/children for particular holidays. But whatever the source of disagreement may be, children should not be exposed to such behaviour. Their happiness should be the most important part of the holidays.
In co-parenting, it is natural for parents to compete to be the better parent by outdoing one another and by showering the child/children with gifts. Sometimes the agreed boundaries are breached by one parent in a bid to be the most caring and loving parent. However, during the holidays, parents should not break the rules in order to gain the love of their children. The rules should remain the same in order not to confuse the child/children.
Parents ought to know that it is inappropriate to say or do anything that could undermine the other parent. Even if the child/children live with one parent for most of the time, that parent should not make plans without the other parent. In fact, the parent whom the child lives with should compromise if the child/children rarely see the other parent. Children always benefit from good relationship between parents.
Parents should always strive to be responsible and stop the feuding and put the interest of their child/children first. Constant arguments between parents in front of their child/children could have a psychological impact on them. In fact, studies have shown that tug-of-war between parents have resulted in unnecessary stress among children.
Parents ought to understand that the happiness of children must always come first and nothing should be done to compromise it. Children should not be treated as pawns by either parent. While it is true that there is a lot of stress from co-parenting, especially when parents cannot get along with one another, the interest of children should not be jeopardized but be placed ahead of those of parents.
In the interest of children, parents must try to communicate with one another even if the communication is limited to discussions about their children. The lives of children should be their highest priority whether they agree or not. Parents should recognize that it is important to raise children to become decent and productive citizens in society.
It is also crucial for parents to understand that they are important to their children and that they have vital and separate roles to play in their lives. Therefore, the happiness of children should always take precedence over any negative feelings or sentiments that parents may have against one another. Parents should always engage in meaningful discussions about their children. If discussions become difficult or if they are unable to reach an agreement concerning their children, then they should seek assistance from a neutral party to help steer the discussions towards compromise.
It is true that some parents are able to resolve their differences and come together for the sake of their children, but others are not able to do so. However, parents should at times concede so that during the holidays and important occasions, their child/children could alternate between a mother and a father. Whatever the arrangement, it should be in the best interest of the child with as little squabbling as possible.
While the final decision rests with the parents, it would be good to afford children the opportunity to express themselves on how and with whom they want to spend their time. Encouraging children in decision making could lead to the development of good decision-making skills.
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