If you think that all of the drama between you and your estranged spouse ends the moment that the divorce becomes official, then you really ought to think again. Mashonda Tifrere delves into the challenges of co-parenting that ensue after marriage dissolution in her latest op-ed for ESSENCE.
“The discord often doesn’t stop just because the ink has dried on the divorce papers,” Tifrere shares. “Repeatedly witnessing incidents of antagonism (whether loud and dramatic or soft and subtle) is not in a child’s best interest,” Mashonda explains.
“Seeing the two people he or she looks up to the most behave as if they hate each other leaves a child confused,” the author continues. “Children’s minds are not equipped to navigate the mental and emotional impact of a war between their parents, yet they feel very deeply what’s happening around them. While parents are playing out their enraged emotions, their children are left with a clear picture of division and disorder that they may hold on to for the rest of their lives. Inevitably, they have to unlearn this image of partnerships if they want to experience their own serene, healthy relationships.”
So what is the solution, according to Mashonda Tifrere? “We must also learn how to communicate with our co-parent,” the celebrity mom reveals. “Your tone, your ego, your mood—all these things need to be checked before picking up that phone. I also believe you have to begin with a new understanding that only comes from airing your feelings. It’s that first difficult conversation in which you acknowledge and dissect each other’s pain that sets the foundation for a better relationship, one built on acceptance and trust.”
“Be courageous with your vulnerability. If you don’t think you can have that conversation on your own with your child’s father, bring in a mediator—someone who is qualified and can be objective. Cry together. Cry in solitude!”
You can learn more about Mashonda Tifrere’s views on co-parenting in her book, Blend. The author and her ex-husband, Swizz Beatz have one son, Kasseem Dean Jr.