Custody issues can take the form of a battle, with parents each trying to “win.”
However, there are other ways to approach these situations. If you are dealing with custody, consider the following reasons and ways to reframe this discussion in a more cooperative light.
Getting on the same side
It can feel impossible to get on the same side as someone you may neither like nor trust. However, remember that you are both still parents. And you both play substantial roles in the rearing of your child.
Thus, getting on the same side and working together as parents can be in your child’s best interests.
Again, this can be incredibly challenging. Fathers especially can feel threatened and scared when it comes to custody, motivating them to take an adversarial stance.
That said, fathers and mothers who can get on the same side regarding custody issues can retain more control over their situation, leaving few, if any, decisions in the hands of strangers and judges who may have outdated or conflicting views on parenting.
A Washington Post article discussed research that shows children of parents who share joint physical custody often have more emotional resources than children with other custody arrangements. Although, this may have more to do with how parents reach shared parenting agreements.
In other words, a child can more easily develop healthy skills and assets regarding conflict when their parents navigate their own conflicts respectfully and peacefully.
Emotional resources are incredibly valuable to a child’s resiliency and self-confidence. Recognizing this can help you work with the other parent rather than steeling yourself against them.
There are exceptions
While shared custody is gaining momentum in families and courts across the country, it is not suitable for everyone.
A legal battle may be unavoidable when a case involves:
- A history of abuse or violence
- Unequal commitment to shared parenting
- Logistical issues (e.g., parents living far from each other)
- Significant shortcomings in parenting capabilities
Under these circumstances, shared parenting and cooperative decision-making may not be advisable or practical.
Looking through a different lens
There is certainly a lot at stake when it comes to custody. However, you can reframe the situation by considering your child’s perspective and taking a step back to think of the bigger picture.
New, creative options can become visible when you look at the situation through these different lenses.