When 2 people decide to split up, it can be the most devasting event in a child’s life as well as for the parents. The parents still have to work, pay bills and handle all of their daily responsibilities as usual. However, now they have to find that balance of co-parenting and that is no easy task.
Regardless of whose initial choice or fault it was for the split, both adults are dealing with the emotions of resentment, animosity, anger, disappointment, sadness of why the relationship actually failed. Yet they have to keep focus, putting their own personal feelings aside to raise the child/children. They are forced to communicate, forced to make joint decisions, forced to interact, all for the benefit of the offspring.
Most people adapt eventually and seem to fall into a reasonable way of managing the co-parenting thing smoothly enough. Sometimes it has to take one to be the bigger person, taking a step back teaching the other one to put the child’s needs first. My own perspective on it is, as long as the child is doing well, no behavior issues in school or outside of that, being respectful and quite simply developing into young adulthood nicely there will be no reason for the adults to argue on either side and all parties are happy and delighted to share in the bragging rights.
Now let that same responsible, thriving child make one mistake, guided by the teenage lack of being able to make the absolute correct one. Because at the end of the day, that amazing child is just a teenager. And, after all, that is what they do, they make poor choices. Even the best of kids. So when this happens prepare yourself to enter the matrix of the blame game or maybe it will be you who will drag your Ex into the matrix, either way someone will be blaming someone else for the child’s bad judgment call. Why is this? I think there are a few factors that come into play here.
One reason, the ego, it clouds one’s judgment, one’s ability to absorb a certain reality. The ego is all about self, therefore, does not allow one parent to hear what the other one is saying because the ego is saying, “You are wrong. I am right and you failed our child.”
A second reason, maybe 1 of the parents will want to place blame on the friends. It is irrational to think that your amazing kid could make that poor choice on his or her own. Unfathomable to think your kid might have wanted to smoke pot, or steal a pack of gum, or cut a class. It absolutely had to be the friends fault!
And 3 guilt. A parent isn’t spending the quality time that maybe he or she should be due to work, not living under the same roof anymore, has to work 2 jobs, etc. Any numbers of reasons, so now the guilt sets in and that parents cast those emotions of neglect for lack of a better word, onto the other parent. Soon to follow is the blowout. Neither parent is looking at the child. Not focusing on what happened, how it happened, why it happened. Just the- it’s your fault, you should have, I told you, how could you, you, you, you…
There comes a time when I hate to tell you, your child did something because he or she wanted to. For whatever reason. They get to a certain age where they clearly know right from wrong and CHOOSE to make the wrong choice. Though, I believe in their mind they don’t have any intention getting caught or having to explain themselves to anyone so when reality sets in on them it can be a shocker, which could be a good thing, but that’s another blog. I tell my own son that it is okay to make a mistake, as long as you learn from it. When you make the same mistake twice, it’s not a mistake anymore.
My point briefly is before you start blaming each other, take a step back, look at the entire picture and evaluate what is actually going on. Is there a reoccurring problem or was it a one-time incident? Never react on emotion, always use logic and when you do, you will put that ego away and stop blaming each other. You are not doing your child any favors. You are only teaching him or her to blame others and to not accept responsibility for their own actions. Teach and guide your child by example. You will surprisingly start to communicate with each other and with your child and that is a incredible ability.