There are No Ex-parents, Only Ex-Spouses

If you are a single mother who is dating someone you must have at one point felt like this. Questions race through your head. What about my children? Will they accept and love the new man in my life? Will my new partner accept them or take off like the last guy?  What will my ex feel about another man coming near his kids let alone raising them? How will I make this relationship work despite my heavy workload at home as a mum and with my job? When will I ever have some ‘me’ time?

If you think that single dads don’t ask the same questions then think again! they do, and can be just as stressed out about the situation like any single mum. Some common aspects about single parent families irrespective of who permanently has the children are;

  • The parents want to find new love, start a new life with new partners. Whereas they could be ready to move on,the children are always not.
  • The guilt of breaking up the home may result in loss of proper parenting and discipline for the kids. The mum/dad may focus on pleasing the children, showering them with gifts, lots of entertainment. One parent may end up playing both good cop and bad cop.
  • Bad mouthing of one parent by the other.This completely confuses the children as they feel torn between the dad and mum and this may affect their self esteem
    The new partners in the parents lives may disagree with their parenting skills which brings conflict between the couple
  • Parents may willingly/unwillingly decide not to co-parent. The gaps in parenting are clearly seen by the children and they may play the parents against each other to get their way.

These are just a tip of the iceberg. There are other aspects that have to be acknowledged and proactively dealt with. Single parents are potential step-families and if they don’t realize this early and start working towards a working co-parenting model then this strains the relations with their children, their former spouse as well as their new partner. So here is

Lesson #5

There are no ex-parents, only ex-spouses. It doesn’t matter what the hell happened between the two of you. How angry or resentful you might be to your former spouse or how willing, accepting and loving your new partner is to your children. Your children need you to parent them together. They need your guidance and discipline throughout their lives so do not deny them this right. Work out a co-parenting structure with your ex for the sake of the children and for a solid foundation should you want to make your future blended family work.

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