Co-Parenting: Putting the Past Where It Belongs

Happy New Year everyone! I hope your 2011 was a year of wonderful blessings and new opportunities. Hopefully you took advantage of each and every one. If the year didn’t go as planned, don’t fret. You have a whole new year ahead of you.

Of course it’s healthy to look back over the past 365 days and think about what you did that worked for you and what sucked the life you might have done differently. I took a class once from Margie Lawson: Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors. Through the class I learned what was holding me back and limiting my growth. I learned to make short and long term goals. I learned to envision my future and work toward it in a productive manner. (Note to my writing friends: This on-line class is starting today and only $30. A bargain for all the helpful advice you receive.)

Pic by Ed Donahue at flickr


When it comes to putting the past behind some of you parents though, you might need to seek professional help one on one. Some of you have had a more difficult time dealing with the ex and have had some pretty bad experiences. I understand that. There is nothing shameful about seeking help from a counselor/therapist or other professional. If it helps you — it helps your child. And that’s the important thing, right?

Starting in 2012, why not make it a goal to co-parent more effectively. Less fighting. Less stress. Less putting the children in the middle. Yes, I know you’re thinking, “But she (he) won’t <fill in the blank>.” You and I both know you can’t control the other person or make them do anything. You can; however, control what you do and how you respond to the other person. If you make changes, chances are it will improve the way the other person acts as well. Even if he/she continues to be a horse’s butt behave in a spiteful manner, your child will experience less animosity and negativity when you refuse to participate in the same old harmful routines from the past.

It’s easy to get caught up in the pushing of buttons from the end of your relationship. After all, you know each other intimately and you know just what to say or do to set the other one off. You’ve gotten use to responding in a certain way. Ways that are probably not in your (or your child’s) best interests. It takes a deep commitment and concentration to move up and out of these ruts. But it can be done. You just have to wait before you respond. Think about how you would normally react and then find a better option. Choose not to get upset. Choose to let the anger go. Choose to ignore any insult. Choose to respond in a positive manner. Hard? Absolutely. But you and your child are both worth it.

The past is just that. The past. It can’t be undone. It can’t be changed. But you have today and you have the future. Do you want more of the same fighting, stress, and hurt in 2012? Or do you want to do your part to make things easier on your child? Once you stop re-acting in the same old ways and start finding positive ways to co-parent, you’ll find that you are a much happier person regardless of how your ex responds. Of course if you both make positive changes, think how wonderful it will be for all of you!

I hope you all have a happy, healthy and successful 2012! Here’s to active and healthy co-parenting!

Do you have plans to make co-parenting better this year? Have you and your ex made improvements over the past year? If so, share your secrets with us!


*NOTE: Here’s my typical disclaimer for these posts–I am not an attorney. These opinions are mine alone and are based on my years of experience working within the family court system. They are not meant as legal advice nor as representative of anyone else’s opinion. If you need legal advice (and I believe if you’re involved in child custody litigation, you really do),  please consult with an attorney.


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The award-winning author of THE CONSUMING, and the zombie apocalypse series, SURVIVAL. She writes horror/sci-fi, paranormal, YA urban fantasy, suspense, and middle grade.

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8 Responses

  1. Patricia Yager Delagrange

    Nice post, Rhonda. I love the word “re-act”. It’s insanity to act the same way and expect a different result, right? I never thought of reactions like that before. Instead of always reacting to my son, I should think how to respond differently and perhaps I’ll get a different resulting behavior from him.

    • Rhonda Hopkins

      Thanks, Patti! Changing the way we deal with people or issues can be difficult. Especially children. But it’s well worth the effort. Good luck! I’m so glad I got to know you this past year and I hope you have a wonderful 2012!

  2. Jayne Ormerod

    Rhonda, Thanks for reminding me “what’s past is past.” Sometimes I waste energy wishing I could have done things differently. But there are no “do-overs” in life. I’m going to take that as my mantra for 2012.

    Happy New Year to you and your blog followers!

    • Rhonda Hopkins

      Jayne, we’ve all been there wishing we could get a big “do-over”. I’ve learned that even those times that didn’t work out quite right or the mistakes I’ve made have made me who I am and hopefully I’m better for having learned from them. I could guilt myself to death if I allowed it. So I try to accept my lesson and move forward with the new knowledge instead. That’s a great mantra! I may just have to steal that for one of my future blog posts. LOL I hope you have a fantastic year!

  3. pjsharon

    Well said, Rhonda. I’ve taken Margie’s EDITS workshop and she is brilliant. Always full of great tips and sage advice.

    I’m a firm believer in letting go of anything which does not serve me well. I learn from the past and move ever forward.The past only serves to remind me of what I’ve chosen to leave behind and how far I’ve come.

    • Rhonda Hopkins

      Thanks for stopping by, Paula! I love Margie’s classes and she’s a first class lady herself. Very sweet. You have a great attitude about the past. Happy and successful New Year, my friend.

  4. Catie Rhodes

    I took Margie’s DSDB class several years ago. It was full of good advice. The thing I go back to most often is where she said not to let a doctor’s appointment or a trip to the grocery be your whole day. Margie said to push yourself to get more done–especially with your writing.

    What you said about only being able to control what YOU do is so true. I’m nearly 40 years old, and I still forget this sometimes. There I am fuming about what someone did–making myself miserable–and it doesn’t change a d*mn thing. LOL

    I am not a parent, but I love reading your co-parenting blogs. It’s always interesting to see how the other half lives.

    • Rhonda Hopkins

      Hi Catie! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by. I love it when people who aren’t parents can still find something to take away from these posts. Margie’s great, isn’t she?