By Ginger Gentile, National Parents Organization Deputy Director
Are we doing our best to mirror the behavior we want to see in our own blended families?
One of the key tenets of the Shared Parenting Movement is that shared parenting is the best solution even when parents are not on good terms, as it will buffer children from conflict by giving them access to both parents as well as helping to reduce conflict by sending a message that we don’t fight over kids.
As change agents, we need to mirror this concept when we deal with people who disagree with us, on social media, when lobbying and also when we work with other activists.
How do we make this happen in practice? The same way we co-parent (or “parallel parent,” meaning both share responsibilities but don’t communicate and have different rules in each household) with the mother or father of our children.
● We don’t have to respond to every comment, attack or statement. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!
● Asking for opinions to improve ourselves, not to gossip or figure out who said what.
● Stop giving oxygen to fan the flames of conflict. The people who disagree with shared parenting are a very small minority--some polls place it at 3%! Instead of talking about their arguments, let's talk about our positive reasons to adopt shared parenting!
● Collaborating with other shared parenting groups. Let’s share our victories--it isn’t about creating an organization that is an umbrella but working together, each in its own niche.
● Before you talk, ask: is it true? Is it useful? Is it kind? If it isn’t, don’t say it.
Since I have come on board as the Deputy Executive Director, I have begun helping all of our affiliates, board members and supporters speak from the heart and be lights of love and compassion for all the children who suffer from not having a fit, loving parent in their lives for no good reason. We will begin offering more workshops, webinars with hands-on tools and making sure our message is positive and effective. I look forward to working with everyone who is fighting for our children to have the best relationship possible with their entire family.