My 2-Year-Old Broke Her Leg At Co-Parent's House (How do I trust him again??)
"My 2-year-old broke his leg at co–parent’s house. How do I trust him again?"
This was a question from our weekly @WTFdivorce Instagram anonymous confessions, that resonated with a lot of of other parents.
Ok, first of all – super upsetting and totally understandable that you’d feel this way.
Injuries SUCK in general – I think this is especially true with young kids because they seem (and in many ways are) extra vulnerable to the dangers of every day life.
Here are two things to consider:
1) As always - safety!
Example: if this is a pattern or happened because your ex is battling substance abuse and wasn’t paying attention because they were intoxicated…certain steps (perhaps including legal action) need to be taken to ensure the child’s safety moving forward.
2) If that’s NOT the case - I would encourage you to ensure that you are separating your feelings about your personal relationship with your ex from the relationship they have with your child, and how they typically show up as a parent.
For example: If there has been infidelity or some other history between the two of you that damaged your trust, it’s understandable that this would be a trigger.
With that said (and buckle up because this can be a tough pill to swallow)...
Our feelings are not facts.
The feeling of distrust coming up does not necessarily = that they are an untrustworthy or incapable parent.
So how do we ensure that we are not projecting our feels about who they were as a partner, onto how they are as a parent?
Here are three things to think about:
1) How did they handle the situation? i.e. did they take the proper steps - going to the emergency room, contacting you to keep you in the loop, and following whatever you have outlined in your parenting plan for emergencies?
2) Is this something that could have happened under your care or the care of someone else? Be honest here.
3) Are you giving the other parent the same or less understanding and grace that you would give another caregiver (i.e. grandparents, babysitter, teacher). And if you’re not, why? And again, is that why attached to your personal feelings towards your ex, or a consistent pattern of poor parenting choices?
So yeah, injuries suck.
And they SUPER suck when your trust in your coparent is already broken or hanging on by a thread.
But let’s make sure we aren’t allowing our feelings to dominate how we respond or react to the situation.
And hopefully, thinking through those 3 questions will help you determine how you can move forward in a way that is truly in your child’s best interest.
Hope this helps!
Ashley Wood is a divorced and co-parenting coach.