Parent Relationships – Respecting the Other Parent’s Point of View
This is the 4th in a 6 part series on creating a happy and effective parenting team: Our first article was “Parents Working Together”, our second article was “Parent Communication”, and our 3rd was Compatible Parenting Views.
Respecting one another’s point of view is especially important and challenging when you and your co-parent don’t have many other compatible values (beyond the five concepts mentioned in our previous article) when it comes to your kids.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to necessarily have to agree with someone to show respect. Your tone, approach, language (choice of words), and attitude are everything. As long as you agree upon the five basic concepts, your kids remain loved, safe and respected.
Lack of Trust
The difficulty parents experience in respecting one another’s point of view usually stems from lack of trust in the co-parent’s role. If you don’t trust your ex-spouse to provide the right choices or environment for your child, then naturally, it can be very difficult to respect his or her parenting style.
And if you have legitimate cause for concern and feel any danger exists for your child, or your co-parent (ex-spouse) is unable to provide a safe and stable environment for your child, you must seek resources and the proper authority to find a solution to protect your child.
If, however, the differences in parenting styles between you and your ex are just that: differences in parenting styles, and if these differences are not causing any harm to your kids, then it is important to show respect for your co-parent’s point of view, despite disagreeing with him/her, especially in front of the your kids.
Showing your kids that you respect the other parent’s point of view, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it, is a great lesson for kids.
The Key to Success
The key to success in reaching a mutual agreement (and/or a compromise) may be in how you communicate with your co-parent. When kids witness their parents engaging in respectful communication about them, they feel respected and important.
In addition to this wonderful outcome, the kids also feel they can rely on the parenting team to problem-solve, which means they are happy to approach their parents in times of need.
If, however, kids don’t feel that their parenting team can communicate respectfully about them and their problems, the kids feel bad and unhappy because they feel like they are the source of their parents’ conflict. Beyond that, they may even feel anxious about approaching their parents in the future about problems, fears, concerns, and needs. This uncertainty leads many kids to feeling extremely alone and helpless.
So be very careful what you show your kids about what a reliable parenting team you are.
Next time you have an opportunity to communicate with your co-parent, ask yourself:
- How well am I able to communicate?
- How well was I able to show respect for my co-parent’s point of view (especially in front of your kids) whether or not I agree with him or her?
- How well was I able to communicate our kids’ issues with my co-parenting team?
- Did I send a message to my kids that their parenting team is strong, reliable and approachable?
In our next article, we’ll discuss: Negotiating and Problem Solving as a Team
I am available to do Parent Education Workshops, either Private or PTA Sponsored Classes. Contact me at 425-772-6698.