Even before the divorce, Modern Family Dad was comfortable in the kitchen. He travelled a lot for his job but when home he often took over the cooking duties and specialized in big breakfasts. He really enjoyed making sure his family had a good meal before heading out the door in the morning for school and work. It was one of the ways he showed them he loved them.
If you’ll recall, our Modern Family initially had a contentious divorce but after their Day of Reckoning (day-of-reckoning.html) decided they needed to work together in a more harmonious way for the good of the children. They were able to eventually co-parent effectively, but those changes didn’t happen overnight. Trust had to be re-built. But where to begin? Shortly after the Day of Reckoning, in addition to cooking for the kids each morning, Modern Family Dad started cooking a breakfast sandwich for Modern Family Mom on the mornings she picked the kids up before school. He didn’t ask – he just did it. He knew how she liked it – broken yolk, lightly toasted bagel – and he just had it ready for her when she showed up. Just a small act of kindness on a hectic morning.
Here at the Mediation Table the issues I see are often serious and hurtful, causing people to struggle with trusting their co-parents for any variety of reasons.
So how do they rebuild trust and go forward in a workable co-parenting relationship?
It’s not easy. And often times it takes baby steps. And while you don’t have to cook, it does start with the small things – like the Modern Family Mom breakfast sandwich. Or just small kindnesses in general. Remember, you don’t have to be married to (or partnered with) these people anymore, but you will forever be the parents of the children you have together. So treat your co-parent with kindness and respect by:
Exhibiting kindness and respect for your co-parent will not only make your life more pleasant but it will model wonderful, collaborative behavior for your children. And who knows, you may even get a breakfast sandwich out of it!