I once posted the following question on Facebook: What is one thing you wish the other parent would do or that you could work out with them? Not surprising, this opened a floodgate of responses and emotions. Below are the answers I received back. Please note, we cannot “fix” the other parent, but we CAN pray for them! Keep your side of the street clean; entrust the rest to God.
I wish he would be part of my daughter’s life…she is 5 ½ and he has never seen her and has no interest.
Respecting the child’s wish to see other parent instead of keeping them away.
Discipline the children instead of playing friend role…no rules at his house…makes me the “mean” parent.
(From a widow): I wish we had been more purposeful about writing things ahead…setting up wills and affairs before a crisis.
Stick to a schedule and work on discipline techniques with me.
Work on a set schedule and don’t waiver from it…sets the kids up for disappointment and makes them feel unimportant…all they want is for both parents to love them and make them feel secure.
Respect and comply with the judge’s orders.
Honest, open communication…healthy, stable parental figure, kids first over extracurricular activities.
I wish my ex-wife would do something, ANYTHING to show she cares for the kids. It breaks my heart to see the hurt and anger in my kids.
Acting “as if I do not exist anymore”…one cannot co-parent like that.
I have learned that there are literally thousands of dynamics and possibilities when it comes to single parenting situations; so obviously this is a broad recap of some frequent issues we all may come across. I wish I could provide a “one size fits all” solution to the examples above, but that is not possible. I have also come to understand that I should not try. Jesus is the ONLY one qualified to handle such a task…and He already has. The writer of Hebrews tells us that we have a High Priest that has suffered in every way we ever could and has cleared a path back to our Father for reconciliation and restoration. Don’t try to fight a spiritual battle in the flesh, it won’t work. Fight spiritual battles in the spirit, for that is where the victory truly lays! Spend as much time in prayer and God’s Word as you can to help you overcome the difficult seasons. Who knows? The trials you are currently going through may one day become the testimony you share with your children as to God’s faithfulness in your family’s life.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal
but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NKJV
As a single parent, what steps can YOU take today to work with the other parent for the sake of your children?
By Matt Haviland
Husband to Christy
Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of A Father’s Walk
Author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers,Co-author of The Daddy Gap