It can be difficult to imagine how after your divorce you and your ex-spouse will be able to make difficult or complicated parenting decisions together. For some, by the end of the marriage, agreeing on anything at all just wasn’t possible so to expect to be able to work as partners now in raising children can seem ridiculous.
I recently worked with parents who agreed that they each loved their children very much but that’s about all. They argued and disagreed as co-parents on many issues, had reached an impasse, and sought out my assistance. They seemed to struggle most with issues around each feeling that they had autonomy to do what they felt was best for their children and each felt that their parenting abilities were not respected by the other co-parent. One issue they were fighting about when I met them was that Dad felt the children should be able to enjoy a spontaneous “Hello” from him if they were at daycare when he happened to pass by on his way to/from work or meetings. He loved to “surprise” the children during weekday time (that was actually allotted to the mom) and he did so regularly. Mom found this very upsetting and felt that her ex was encroaching on her scheduled time with the children. She felt that even if she needed to use daycare during her allotted parenting time (due to the work obligations of her very demanding job), it wasn’t appropriate for Dad ever to just ‘pop in’ unannounced and unauthorized. It also seemed to leave the children, she felt, missing dad more and upset that they wouldn’t get to enjoy a sleepover with him for a few more days. These two parents tried to discuss and resolve this, but neither parent was able to ‘see’ or understand the others’ point of view and instead, declared their right to visit and parent the children as they saw fit.
she was entitled to they can agree on. Each talked of wanting to feel respected and autonomous when it comes to parenting decisions but neither was prepared to extend that courtesy to the other.
who can not agree on