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Parenting Without A Partner

From the time my child was four, I raised them without a co-parent. There are many different kids of single parents, not everyone is in the same situation. My kid's father sent a sizable child support payment every month, so I was able to homeschool even though that meant I earned a minimal income. In addition, my parents were always on hand to take care of my kid when I needed to do grown up things like dating.

Other single parents are truly going it alone, without child support, family help, or a co-parent. Others have joint custody and therefore have days off at a time without their child, whether they enjoy that fact or not.

Parenting with a co-parent has its pros and cons. I really enjoyed the freedom I had to make every day decisions about my child such as what they were eating or when they were sleeping. In this way there was consistency which I think provided a sense of security. I did consult my child's father for major decisions like education or medical issues, and we were mostly in agreement.

The major con was burn out. There is no one to pass the child off to when emotions run high. No one in the house to step in and say, "I'll take it from here. You go take a break". But the thing is just because a co-parent is physically there does not mean they will intervene in a healthy way or at all. If the relationship between parents in strained then the child will be present to witness unhelpful patterns of communicating.

It may sound like I am advocating single parenthood. I think I am saying it was a good experience for me, partially due to my circumstances. When I coach couples or co-parents, I have to factor in their relationship and whether they are acting as a team or actually undermining each other's efforts. This takes skills like conflict resolution and deep communicating. When co-parents learn to communicate in relationship-strengthening ways, they act as a model for their kids. It also means taking a good hard look at the right-wrong paradigm and deciding which is more important, proving yourself "right" or parenting with joy and co


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