When Bob and I divorced, I thought it was the death of our family. Little did I know then that our family would survive. Although it did change. Harlow 2.0 took on an entirely new form – one that works for us and allows us all to be happy. I call it Collaborative Co-parenting.
Twenty-one years ago when we started to figure this out, the term co-parenting hadn’t even been invented. The closest thing to it then was “shared parenting” which is a term the courts and family lawyers use when parents establish a joint custody agreement that calls for splitting time equally with their children. But Collaborative Co-Parenting is so much more than this.
Collaborative Co-parenting Elements
To embark on a Collaborative Co-parenting journey you absolutely need to decide how you’ll split time with your kids. But you’ll also want to work out things like communication, living arrangements, and finances to ensure you’ve set expectations between the two of you and with your children as well.
In my blog, I share with you just how Bob and I came through our divorce, shared equally in our son’s life as he grew, and have maintained a strong friendship to this day. I explain how we’ve navigated parental decisions, family events, holidays, and even new romantic relationships. But I know from talking to so many other parents that many of you have your own stories to share. Things either we didn’t encounter or never even thought of doing. Things that you struggled with or are still dealing with and haven’t found a solution.
Introducing the Collaborative Co-parenting Community
So beyond our co-parenting journey, I’m establishing a Collaborative Co-parenting Community. I invite you to share your stories, questions, triumphs, and struggles so that we may all learn from each other. Maybe you are newly divorced or have walked this journey for years or decades already. Maybe you are the child of divorce or an extended family member or friend who has been part of a co-parenting journey. I’d love to hear about your experience.
What you share doesn’t have to be long. It could be as simple as posing a question to the community. Or it may be a full blown account of your journey. Have you created your own formula for collaborative co-parenting success or maybe are barely surviving a high-conflict situation? Are you struggling to be collaborative or get cooperation from your counterpart? Are others interjecting turmoil into the equation. What activities have you and your co-parent engaged in together with the kids? What is your living arrangement? How do you communicate?
Let’s Solve Co-parenting Challenges Together
I believe difficult problems are best solved through two things… learning from others and getting creative. And it just so happens I have a special knack for both of these things.
So how do you engage with the Collaborative Co-parenting Community? To start, simply submit your stories, questions, triumphs, and battles through this form. I will then cleanse your writing of any identifying information and post it in this Blog in the Category of Co-Parenting Community so that everyone may read and comment on your contribution.
Why Share Co-parenting Experiences?
Why am I sharing our story and want others to share theirs? Because achieving a Collaborative Co-parenting relationship with my son’s dad saved my soul which otherwise might have disintegrated into a million pieces and blown away. Second, as our son was growing up, countless parents, friends, teachers, and others express to us that they really appreciated how we handled our situation and wished others would choose similarly. Well I don’t know if everyone can engage in Collaborative Co-parenting but I do believe that everyone should at least try it. And I’d like to give them some tools that can help.
Let’s face it. There are way too many unhappily divorced families. So let’s crowd source, ban together and turn Collaborative Co-parenting from being an exception to being the expectation! For too many, the family doesn’t survive and the children are forced to live with heartbreaking decisions — everything from where they live to what activities they share with each parent. And to what end? Who benefits from choosing all of that misery?
If you are recently divorced, I hope that both this blog and the Collaborative Co-parenting Community will help you as you navigate relationships with your ex-spouse, children, extended family, and friends more successfully.
Through the power of community, we can ALL become Collaborative Co-parenting Champions!
Does someone you know need co-parenting help? Share this link with them! Do you think this is all just a load of crap? We want to hear why you think that too. Shoot us a comment.