Personal Interest – Applying The Serenity Prayer To Co-Parenting

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
At some point in all of our lives, we have all heard this prayer – The Serenity Prayer. How does it apply to co-parenting?

There comes a time that we all need to come to terms with the fact that we cannot control the things that happen when our children are over at the other parent’s home. It is just a fact. Some people try to argue the “should be” or “ought to be” but really, fact is fact, so arguing this is futile. As a conscious co-parent, the only things that you can change are the things that happen in your home.

Case and point:

Within a short period of time, our son broke the screens on his iPod and on his tablet. His father chose to buy our son a new laptop instead of holding our son accountable for his actions and making our son responsible for having the repairs made and paying for them.

I feel very strongly about the responsibility and accountability factors when it comes to making mistakes and learning from them because learning these lessons and understanding them before children reach adulthood is integral in their successes in life.

As you can see from this example, we have two different opinions on the matter. So, what can I as a conscious co-parent do? Set limits and rules that apply to my own home.

In this instance, I explained to our son my feelings regarding his accountability and responsibility and why I felt that he needed to correct the situation himself before he was permitted to have new electronics. Then I explained that although I am very happy for him that his father chose to purchase a new laptop for him, that the new laptop would not be permitted in my home until he had rectified the original situation. Once that was done, then he was more than welcome to bring his new laptop here and use it under the household rules.

By taking this approach and accepting that I have no control over what happens when our children are with their father, I reduce the conflict that could potentially occur, which is putting the best interest of the children first. After all, children don’t need conflict in their lives. They need peaceful co-parenting.