Are you sharing a child with someone who doesn't live with you? Share your story and your strategies for effective parenting.

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Replied By: ffaanncc on Aug 14, 2012, 11:22AM
My ex-husband and I co-parent two children, and we remain very good friends. When we first decided to separate, after 15yrs of marriage, we actually divided our farmhouse into 2 separate dwellings with a connecting door inbetween, The kids could go back and forth from Mommy`s place to Daddy`s place anytime they wanted. For the children, they handled the separation seemingly with ease, since thier everyday lives really did not change that much, and thier parents were still conversing with respect and friendliness. 

After 2 years of this arrangement, I bought my own house in town, and when we drop the kids off to spend time with the other parent, we chat and catch up, and talk about whatever happened with the kids in the other parent`s absence. We all hang out together for birthdays and Christmas, and his girlfriend has also welcomed me into thier home when I come to pick up the kids. 

My daughter who is now 12, has told me numerous times, ``I am so glad you and Daddy are friends,  and you still care about each other``.

It is so important to show the children that all that love can go somewhere, even if it did not turn out to be a fairytale ending, it can still be a happy ending. 

Replied By: trishak31 on Aug 14, 2012, 6:32AM
I am a mother who is co-parneting a child with autism.  I chose to divorce my husband because the environment was unhealthy for our son.  My son was young and subsequently after divorcing diagnosed with autism.  The challenges have been tremendous as he requires a lot of supports, doctors appts., strict behavior programs and such.  I am co-chair for an Autism Speaks event and very involved in volunterring in the community to continue to find reources, networks for myself and to raise awareness in our community.  Our social challenges are difficult enough and it's a constant struggle to get my ex to understand all our son requires and when you have consistency across home and school but notboth households it is SO challenging to make progress!!
Replied By: kabrownve1977 on Aug 13, 2012, 3:47PM
I'm a 34 year old, remarried mother of 2, Jonathan is 14 and Emily is 12.  When we first got divorced the kids livec with me and i had to push my ex husband to take his visitation, he also wasn't paying child support.  He got back into a relationship right away and she got pregnant, by the time our divorce was final he already was living with and had another baby with his current wife.  It was tough on our kids to adjust and it hasn't been easy, I was just remarried and both of my children decided to live with their father, i've always given them the choice.  But i have had trouble with communication with my Ex, he doesn't follow up with phone calls and it is always a pain trying to get in touch with my children.  I've even bought phones for my son and they end up grounding him so i still have little to no communication with them.  I want them to be happy so I back off from constant bugging but I am still having a hard time just letting go of them.  It has been a tough 8 years in this process. Co parenting isn't easy, sometimes i think it would have just been easier to stay married and dealt with the conflict of his infidelity.  
Replied By: cokeisit_1 on Aug 13, 2012, 3:28PM
During my divorce I think that if my ex and I were in the same room we would have killed each other.  The only thing we could agree on was that our son was the most important thing in the world to us.  After reading the statistics on children post divorce we both were very concerned.  We decided to put our son first and enter into counseling just so we could get along.  We also had our son in counseling.  We both vowed that we would not call each other names, make inappropriate comments or prevent Andrew from having contact with each other during visitation. 

My ex is a flight attendant so his schedule varies.  Although we have a set visitation we do not go by it due to his ever changing schedule.  Our son knows he has unlimited contact with both of us.  The only time he cannot have contact with his father in when he is in the air. 

We talk on a daily basis.  Have a family dinner at least once a month and family check in once a week to check to make sure we are all on the same page. 

For the most part we agree on how we want our son raised.  Those few occasions when we do not agree, we sit down and talk about the situation.  We listen to each other and give it thought and then talk about it again. 

We actually get along better now than the 18 years we were married!  It takes a lot of very hard work!

I guess the bottom line is we both feel that our son is the #1 thing in both of our lives, fighting only brings misery to our son and we don’t want that.   It took a lot of hard work to get to where we are now.  I am not saying that everything is perfect but it’s the best that it can be.
Replied By: aurorarose2011 on Aug 13, 2012, 3:21PM
I am co parenting with two different guys.  I have 2 children from my first marriage, and two children from my second.  I fully believe that is possible in most cases to have a civil co parenting relationship if both parties make a legitimate attempt.  With my second ex I have done everything within my power to do this, but he refuses.  He is very difficult for anyone to get along with.  He wont call or get the children for months at a time then show up in my driveway practically to get them.  He is over 15000 dollars behind in child support.  We have been divorced for 6 years, but only paid support for one of those 6 years.  It takes two to tango, but it also takes two to get along.  As for my first ex husband we get along really well.  I have found that excellent communication has helped our children adjust very well. We discuss almost everything.  We have an agreement that if its not allowed at one parents house then its not allowed at the others.  We havent used the court agreed visitation in 5 years, because if the kids want to go to his house they can just go, and when they want to come back they can.  Him and his girlfriend will even babysit my younger two, and we help each other out in many other ways.  Both my husband and I can see a huge difference in the adjustment of the older two versus that of the younger two.  However, because of the exposure to a civilized co parenting relationship my younger two know that it can be done.
Replied By: sickofbrooke on Jan 4, 2012, 6:15AM
 My friend has a nine month old baby with a certain female.  She cheated on him and other issues, so he left her.  He wants so desperately to be with his son but she won't let him near the baby because she wants him back and he doesn't want anything to do with her. 

 She is using this child as a game piece and it is heartbreaking to see what it is doing to him.  He is about to move out of state just to get away from her and since she won't let him see the baby anyway. 

When he does get past her vicious mouth and is able to go see his baby, she won't let him take the child, such as to McDonald's or take the child home for a night or the weekend.  She won't let him have private time with the child because she wants to be with my friend.  So he has taken the child to the park, etc, but she had to go along with them.  He's been nice to her, even though he doesn't want to, so that he can visit with his child, but it's getting more and more difficult for him to deal with her.  Now she has a boyfriend and it just kills my friend to know that his baby will start calling this other man daddy. 

 My friend doesn't make enough money to get an attorney and there is so much red tape and craziness to trying to get it all to court.  I myself did my own divorce and it was difficult.  It's so difficult to figure out what to do about custody and visitation. 

 He would like shared custody, equally, so that neither of them will have to pay any child support to the other.  Shouldn't he be able to get half custody of his own child??? 

  He is getting more and more depressed because of this situation. It is so painful to watch this happening to him.  He is hurting so much.  His own father was a terrible evil man and I know he wants to be and would be a great father to his own child.  

  What can he do???  

Replied By: halfwife on Jan 3, 2012, 7:12PM
I am having a real hard time with my ex-husband and being able to co-parent with him.  He lives an hour and 15 minutes away and is an over the road truck driver.  Since we've divorced he refuses to take our kids to the doctor, orthodontist, Boy Scouts, school events - including conferences, baseball & soccer games/practices which leaves me to have to handle everything all by myself.  I work full-time which is almost an hour commute so it is getting real hard to be able to handle everything.  Luckily my parents are retired and have offered several times to help out which I've had to accept their help.  I tried to go for full physical custody of my 2 kids, 14 & 10, but the courts didn't find in my favor.  Now we have a child support hearing in two weeks and a mediation appointment mid-February.  He only wants to communicate via e-mail which makes it really difficult to communicate.  He refuses to pay for anything and when I ask him for help, he says he pays child support, which is $387/month for 2 kids total.  He hasn't had them since end of August which also has put a strain on me.  I am so tired of the drama surrounding my ex and my kids now refuse to go with him or even talk to him.  That has only escalated the issues between my ex and me because he thinks I am alienating him from the kids.  We've even had the sheriff come to our home on behalf of my ex and they ask the kids if they want to go and they say no so they leave since it is a civil matter.  Has anyone else had a situation like this and if so, how have you resolved the drama or eased the drama so the kids are more at ease with having a relationship with their dad?  I am not trying to remove him from their life but he is so disruptive when he does show up, it effects the kids.  Also, he has asked them to move up to his place (which he lives with his parents), asked them to skip school, and skip soccer practices/games so he could spend some time with him.  On all occasions, my kids tell him no.  I do go to a counselor and a divorce support group but even though I am getting help it does no good if my "co-parent" has no interest of putting our kids best interest ahead of his own.  What can I do? 
Replied By: wkgmomof4 on Dec 30, 2011, 2:49PM
Still in the beginning stages of single-parenting, I'm trying to coparent my four children with my ex-husband and his mistress - with whom he lives.  She has four children too. Within a year, my children - ages 7, 9, 11 and 13 - have been exposed to infidelity, divorce and cohabitation and all by one of the most influential role models in their lives: their father.  Our relationship is so strained that we can't even talk to each other, so co-parenting is especially challenging.  I don't know what ex-spouses did before the advent of texting!  It's the easiest way to get basic, important issues top of mind and out for discussion.  Is it ideal?  No.  But for now, it's the best way to harness all the bad energy and just get to the heart of the matter. 
Replied By: nenepretty on Dec 5, 2011, 9:29PM - In reply to cjaspen
It's hurtful to be in a marriage blending the family and living your role feeling taken for granted or unappreciated by your spouses kids. One can only hope to get by the day without one of the kids disrespecting you and feeling like your marriage is on the rocks
Replied By: kidsfriend on Nov 11, 2011, 4:24PM
I agree with the recommendation to strive for the best social environment for any young child and thus to seek out friends who bring a nice family to the relationship. On the other side of the coin one would avoid settings that have negative connotations, right?

In a circle of my friends someone asks whether it is appropriate to take a six-year old to the meetings of Alcoholis Anonymous when the child accompanies a person who is a helper in such a setting?
It seems to us that this kind of environment is not a babysitting service and while teens are welcome to take a learning experience from such a group visit, a six--year old does not appear to be able to take any benefit from it, or?
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