Republicans and Democrats: Learn a Few Things From Co-Parents
Co-parenting relationships can be very much like politics. If you're a co-parent yourself, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you've seen or heard anything about what's going on in Washington, D.C. lately, I also think you'd agree that Congress and the President could learn a thing or two from us!
Below is some unsolicited, free advice for our "leaders" on how to resolve the on-going disputes that are plaguing our system.
Learn to Negotiate like a Co-Parent
Co-parents survive from our ability to negotiate, right? Nothing gets done unless you know how to negotiate - and part of that negotiation is the ability to compromise. It's the nature of any relationship ending that two people will want to part ways. Even if you end up as friends, your involvement in your ex's life will likely decrease.
Well, co-parenting relationships continue on, often at the displeasure of both parties. When you're "stuck" in each other's lives, you have to make the best of it. Who wants to spend the next 18 years being miserable?
Like successful co-parents, our leaders in Congress should learn how to negotiate. You'd think they would have already acquired this most basic skill but it seems not all have. Heck, if you ask me, we should elect more co-parents into our government! Maybe we'd avoid some of the issues we're having now.
The Key to Negotiation is Compromise
It's rather disheartening that no one is willing to listen and no one seems willing to compromise. I get that we are all stuck to our beliefs. I get that we'll never be able to convince someone on the other side that they are wrong and we are right.
But does that mean we have to stay in a constant state of deadlock and never get anything done? I can tell you one thing, co-parents would never be able to settle for that!
Learn to Choose Your Battles like a Co-Parent
I'm sure you've heard the phrase before: "Pick your battles." It's sage advice, for sure, that I think all successful co-parents are able to master. Not every battle is worth fighting, especially when you consider you're in things for the long-haul, more than likely. Making a mountain out of every mole hill will only dig you deeper into a hole.
And guess who often pays the price? Your children.
There's a fine line between being a proverbial door mat and rolling over on every disagreement and standing up for yourself (or your child) too often. There are bound to be differences in opinion in how to parent your child. Those differences may have even led to your split. Those difference may have naturally worked themselves out had you and your ex remained together, but in a co-parent situation they can often linger.
There are definitely some politicians that don't know how to choose their battles. They twist the knife at every opportunity possible, making it almost impossible to see eye-to-eye with the other side. Isn't it time to grow up?
Learn to Listen like a Co-Parent
Listening is as much a part of negotiations as speaking - if not more. Why do I have the feeling that there's a large number of speeches occurring but very few listeners in Washington? What happens when someone starts talking AT you rather than TO you?
I don't know about you, but I stop listening. What happens when one party in a negotiation stops listening?
The negotiation breaks down!
Sure, we all have our points to get across, but as successful co-parents we have to listen to each other, too. Who knows, if you actually put on your listening ears the next time you're arguing about something you may actually hear a solution to the problem. I mean, politicians even have a specific term for speaking while no one is listening - a filibuster!
an action such as a prolonged speech that obstructs progress in a legislative assembly while not technically contravening the required procedures.
"it was defeated by a Senate filibuster in June"
synonyms: stonewalling, delaying tactics, procrastination, obstruction, temporizing
"many hours in committee are characterized by filibuster"