Commitment of a Lifetime
No - I'm not talking about marriage! As a custody and visitation mediator, I know that marriage isn't always a lifetime commitment, no matter how good our intentions are.
But parenthood is.
Parents in the wake of separation often say "We have to get along, at least until the kids turn 18." I'm here to tell you, that simply isn't true. Your child will be your child always. It is truly the commitment of a lifetime!
With that in mind, what would you like your co-parenting relationship to look like? How would you like your children to see your interactions? Friendly? Respectful?
You will both be involved in your child's life, now and throughout adulthood. The kind of relationship you will have in the future depends on the way you interact from today forward. It is often difficult in the midst of hurt feelings to think about working together. But imagining the future can take us out of this moment of hurt to a place where we can picture something different.
When your child graduates college, do you want him to have both parents together, cheering him on? When your child gets married, do you want to share happily in the festivities with your former partner? What about grandchildren, birthdays, and holidays? You have a lifetime of sharing in joys with your child... and your child's other parent.
What about when tragedy strikes? A dear friend recently went through a difficult time when her daughter's newborn baby had a serious health emergency. Divorced or not, her daughter needed both of her parents by her side to support her. The last thing she needed to worry about was her parents bickering or having to coordinate which parent would be at the hospital when, so that each would not run into the other.
Mediation is a gift for parents; guiding them to a place where they are able to put down the arguments and move forward in a positive way. Modern families come in all shapes, sizes and varieties. What matters most is creating the kind of co-parenting relationship that your child can be proud of. As parents you will be there for your child, together, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.