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DK Says.......

November 1, 2009
Does it get easier to co-parent as time goes on?
I've been doing the co-parenting thing for just about 11 years to the day.  My kids were one and three when it started.  I am often asked some version of, "Does it get easier as they get older?"  Unfortunately my answer is, "not exactly."  There are certainly aspects that get easier.  Like the kids get it.  They have the routine down.  They know where they're going to be and when.  And most of the time they have all of their "stuff" or at least realize they've forgotten something before it is a complete last minute emergency.  But as the kids get older, the issues seem to be bigger.  It isn't so much about bed times and getting them to eat.  Just like in any family, married or not, kids get older and they seem to have bigger issues and want to test the waters more.  I think what can make this so much more difficult is usually after several or many years have gone by, there are so many more influences.  When you first get divorced, there generally (hopefully!) are just you and your ex trying to parent together.  By the time years have gone by, often there is a new step-parent or romantic partner on one or both sides that are influencing what is going on.  Compound that with the fact that kids talk to their friends and they see how other parents handle things.  So now the issues become BIG!  You can't just say jump, and the kids jump.  The issues now are about what clothes they are wearing, what their religious beliefs are, what time they come home, if they should get a car, when they should start dating and so on.  So what I have found is that when the kids were little it was easier to just pick my battles and say, "in the big picture does this really matter?" and let a lot of things go.  Now the consequences seem much bigger.  It is very difficult to stay quiet and let the kids sort things out on their own.  And now that we've had 11 years apart, our parenting styles are very, very different.  Where when we first started out they were somewhat closer in style and application.  So, yes, I suppose the shuffling part maybe gets easier, but the parenting part???  Well,  I think that might be a different story.  Oh dear!


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