If that quote doesn’t move you to your bones as a parent, stepparent, adopted parent and/or simply as a human being…nothing will.
I was fortunate to have been included into two different stepfamilies, when I was a child. The Engesser Family, when I was just a baby and the Tysver Family when I was a teen. I was welcomed with open arms and never treated any differently than the other nephews, nieces, grandchildren, etc. I couldn’t be more thankful for them.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case for so many children and/or families.
I want that to change. I don’t want it to be normal that the children are held hostage and used as pawns between parents. Furthermore, these children should not be treated differently, because they are not related by blood. They may be hurt, confused and/or angry and act out, which may make it difficult or stressful to navigate or build relationships with them, but it’s not something you CAN or SHOULD EVER GIVE UP ON.
This is why I’ve started the “Positive Co-Parenting Project.” I see far too many families in a CONSTANT BATTLE…so much hate, anger and resentment. Is it woven so deeply into the fabric of our culture to practically strive for the “normalcy” of animosity, because we truly don’t understand or can comprehend there’s a BETTER way? Most importantly, how are we not realizing that our INNOCENT children are LEARNING these behaviors FROM US. Can we all agree that to practice forgiveness, humility, kindness and respect are the TRUE VALUES we should be teaching our children?
Hawaiian’s have a word “Ho’oponopono.” Pno means right. While it doesn’t mean “I’m right and your wrong,” it does mean that you respectfully disagree, move on and just don’t talk about those things. It also doesn’t mean you forget what happened, but rather forget the negative aspects of it and retain the wisdom. They also have term called, “Anoa’ai.” Ano is seed. Ai means to eat, or to bring it within. From every situation and/or experience in life, there are lessons learned, which are the seeds. If you bring that deeper lesson/seed within, you learn from it and you CHOOSE to move forward.
Experts say that some of the long-term benefits of positive co-parenting your child can include:
Feeling secure and loved
Behavioral outcomes are positive and their social-emotional development becomes well-balanced for an enjoyable childhood
Regain self-esteem and confidence
Have a voice to openly communicate without fear
Maintain strong bonds between BOTH parents
Freely share a connection to their stepparent’s with no shame or guilt
Freely love their parents equally
Do not feel rejected
Feel part of the family
No longer feel the need to fix things between their parents or protect one of their parents from the other.
Of course, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows, but to always focus on what’s best for your children and to live a life of happiness and harmony CAN and SHOULD be what’s NORMAL and STRIVED FOR. #normalizepositivecoparenting
I can’t thank these four amazing families, Brandt, Lewis, Anderson and Paiement, enough for participating in this project for me. You are all shining examples of what Co-Parenting SHOULD look like. When I reached out to them to ask if they’d participate in this project, I was so happy to receive positive responses! I had seen these families in action personally or through social media and knew they’d be perfect for it.
The response to this project since I first posted it on my business Facebook page, Soul Tree Photography Studio, has been nothing short of MIND-BLOWING. I couldn’t have been more nervous, as I truly thought I was going to get some really negative comments, but there wasn’t a SINGLE ONE! ALL the comments were so KIND and INSPIRING…so many stories of other’s successfully co-parenting and being inspired to do sessions like this. Photographer’s were also messaging me, asking permission to this type of session as well.
Obviously, there are always circumstances like abuse or drug addiction that will make this an impossibility. If that’s your situation, I hold you in my heart.