Why “Winning” Isn’t Worth It With A High-Conflict Co-Parent
When parents are unable to come to a mutual agreement regarding their children's upbringing, they may find themselves in court to settle the matter. The process can be daunting and emotionally charged, with both parents fighting for what they believe is in their child's best interests. However, what many parents fail to realize is that "winning" in court can come with significant downsides, particularly when it comes to co-parenting.
First and foremost, winning in court means that one parent will have their way, and the other will be forced to comply with the court's decision. This can create animosity and resentment between the two parents, making it difficult to co-parent effectively. The winning parent may feel justified in their decisions and may be less likely to compromise or consider the other parent's wishes. The losing parent, on the other hand, may feel powerless and resentful, making it difficult to communicate and work together for the benefit of their child.
Here Are 5 Reasons To Reflect On Before Going For Battle:
1. Loss Of Control
Winning in court may not actually be in the child's best interests. Judges are tasked with making decisions based on the information presented to them, but they are not perfect, and their decisions may not always be the right ones. Additionally, court proceedings can be adversarial, with each parent trying to prove their case and make the other parent look bad. This can result in decisions that are more punitive than constructive and may not consider the nuances of the family's unique circumstances.
Additionally, when a co-parent focuses on winning against the other parent they typically are focused on power. The need for control is deep-rooted in fear and often stems from inadequacies. Therefore, projecting control onto the co-parenting dynamic only shows how out of control a co-parent is internally and their weaknesses.
2. Loss Of Finances
When parents try to win against each other, it can create a cycle of ongoing conflict that may never end. This can be financially and emotionally exhausting. It can also result in drawn-out court battles and legal fees, which can be expensive and further exacerbate the conflict and leaving each parent uncertain about the future.
Rather than investing exorbitant amounts of resources into a court battle, seek guidance from professionals who can best support you in trying to resolve matters and staying outside of the court. When finances are strained, so is the rest of the family.
3. Kids Well-being
Children often feel caught in the middle of their parents' conflicts, which can cause them to feel like they have to choose sides. This can lead to feelings of guilt, confusion, and anxiety, and can cause them to become withdrawn and disengaged. Children may also feel like they have to take on adult responsibilities, such as acting as a mediator or trying to manage their parents' emotions, which can be overwhelming and can impact their ability to cope with stress.
The negative impact of power struggles on children's mental and emotional well-being is well-documented. Studies have shown that children who witness conflict between their parents are more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems. They may also struggle with issues such as low self-esteem, difficulty forming relationships, and poor academic performance.
4. Waste Of Time
Trying to "win" against a co-parent can be a draining and time-consuming process. In many cases, the effort spent on trying to prove one's point or discredit the other parent can take up a lot of time and energy that could be better spent on building a positive co-parenting relationship or focusing on the well-being of the children.
Small disagreements, such as scheduling conflicts or disputes over the child's belongings, can quickly escalate into larger issues if the focus remains on winning the argument rather than finding a workable solution. This constant fighting can be exhausting and can leave both parents feeling resentful and stressed. It can also create a negative environment for the children, who may be caught in the middle of the conflict.
5. Poor Health
Engaging in a constant battle with a co-parent can take a significant toll on your emotional and physical well-being. The ongoing stress and tension of the conflict can lead to a variety of negative health outcomes, including anxiety, depression, and stress-induced autoimmune conditions.
Focusing your energy on "winning" against your co-parent can prevent you from moving forward and finding peace and stability in your life. Constantly fighting with your co-parent can consume your time and energy, leaving little room for self-care or pursuing other interests. This can lead to feelings of frustration, resentment, and burnout, making it difficult to find joy and fulfillment in your life.
While not every co-parenting relationship will be amicable putting the best interests of the children first and your own well-being will need to be a priority. This means confidently strategizing rather than engaging in tic-for-tac battles. When we confidently strategize we focus on the facts, the big picture, and only engage where necessary. If you want to learn how to confidently strategize with value rather than take your emotional health or finances through the wringer, then set up a consult today.