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A parent is a person who has been blessed with the responsibility of raising a child to be an upstanding, respectful and productive citizen. Parenting is for two or more people who have been given the same privilege, but have the responsibility of working together for the overall well-being of their child and or children. So why is it that some people think it is a contact sport? What I mean by that is that they believe that parenting is a competition rather than valuing it for what it is? For two reasons; one person may feel as though they have a point to prove in regard to their nurturing skills, and people have the tendency to lose focus on the real matter at hand… raising their children.

When two people come together and produce a child purposely or not, they often fail to realize the work ahead of them, and the effort that must be put forth in pushing their egos to the side in order to come together in agreement for the good of their child.  Whether a kid’s parents live in the same home or not, competition with rearing children can take place consciously and subconsciously. So how do two people take the rivalry and bad blood out of caregiving? By keeping in mind these simple rules:

Respect and allow separate quality time. Each parent has the right to spend time with their child to teach, play with and nurture them as they see fit without any interruption from the other.

Remove your ego! When it comes to children, parents want what’s best for their child, but can sometimes clash on certain issues. When a situation like this comes about it is best to keep calm and set aside your egotistical opinions and come to a mutual agreement that is centered solely around the child.

Combine and conquer. Designate some time for you and your parenting partner to share which morals, values and traditions you both want to implement in your child’s life. This will allow you both to share and learn more about each other, and to be on the same page.

Listen and communicate effectively. Many times, in any type of partnership, people only hear their partners, but they rarely listen to them. When this happens, there is an instant breakdown in communication, thus leading to discord within the parenting relationship. No one wins when discord is present…especially the child.

Always remember that the child’s needs are both of your main priorities. A child is born dependent on the grown ups in their lives until they become adults and branch out on their own, so until that time comes, it is the parents’ direct responsibility to be selfless and place the needs of their child or children before their own. Am I saying that parents don’t deserve time to themselves? Not at all. But every parent must keep their child’s well-being at the forefront of their mind. This will eliminate any need for any competition.

Always respectfully include and clear plans for your child with the other parent. Actively including each other and even making plans together will create a sense of harmony and positive parenting energy for all who are involved. How? Because it provides an open opportunity to share in the decision-making for the child.

Do not use your current mate to make yourself look better than the other parent…  Particularly if the other parent is still single. More often than not, when one member of the parenting team joins with someone else, it gives the parent a sense of completion, therefore leading them to believe that they have the advantage over the other parent or don’t need input from the other parent as much. Why you ask? Because the other party may attempt to create a new and seemingly more stable environment for their child by using their new spouse as a catalyst to lead the child to believe that being with them and the new person is better for them, and a “real family,” when it reality it may not be. In addition to this, don’t allow your new mate to instantly step in and try to take over as the child’s new mother or father. Set and keep respectful boundaries for your mate, your parenting partner, and of course, your child.

Let go of past negative feelings. This is similar to ego, but if you’re still upset with your parenting partner because of mistreatment when you were together, you need to let it go. This is especially necessary if such pain determines when and how often you let your child be with their parent.

Children can bring out the best and the worst in their parents because most parents will do any and everything within their human power to ensure the happiness of their offspring. While this is a great thing, it can also be harmful to the relationships as a whole. Why you ask? Because while both parents may want the best for their kid, their individual ideas of what that is may vary. And when this happens, the seasonal Olympics of parenting begins, and when you think about it, nobody wins. Children are precious gifts given to two people. It is a job like no other that should be cherished and valued with the highest level of respect… It is not a competition.

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin

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