Ada County

Photo courtesy of Justice Wayne Kidwell, Idaho Supreme Court, Retired

Business-Like Parenting

EFFECTIVE BUSINESS PEOPLE KEEP THEIR FEELINGS IN CHECK. Keep your feelings in check. In business relationships, oneís emotions are not to be confused with the job to be done.

EFFECTIVE BUSINESS PEOPLE CONDUCT BUSINESS THROUGH AN ORDERLY GIVE AND TAKE IN WHICH BOTH ADHERE TO A COMMON SET OF COURTESIES AND EXPECTATIONS. Be orderly. Good business-like communications require regular schedules and much record keeping. As cooperating parents, you prepare for each interaction with thought, study, and self-control as if you were preparing to talk to a co-worker about a situation in the office. You would not want to remind the co-worker of past misunderstandings. You would schedule time to see your co-worker instead of just popping in. You donít leave the meeting expecting that you or your co-worker will remember every detail accurately. These principles work for parents as well.

EFFECTIVE BUSINESS PEOPLE EXPECT PROOF OF SALE OR AGREEMENT. Make no assumptions. Be explicit. Avoiding assumptions means checking to clarify agreements with the other parent. Be explicit and put agreements in writing. With agreements, always confirm your understanding with the other parent.

IN BUSINESS, EFFECTIVE PEOPLE GIVE THE OTHER PERSON THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT WHEN IT COMES TO MOTIVES BUT NEVERTHELESS EXPECT DELIVERY OF PROMISED GOODS AND SERVICES. Give the other parent the benefit of the doubt. When one parent is late for exchanging the children, think first of a flat tire or heavy traffic. Donít immediately see the delay as a deliberate attempt to ruin your plans. Have a positive alternative in mind.

USE BUSINESS LIKE COMMUNICATION AND RECORD KEEPING. Good business communication principles apply to parents developing a working relationship. Business is conducted in many ways; in person, by mail, by phone, and sometimes through attorneys. Rarely does a business transaction take place with an unauthorized third party (friends, relatives, or children) carrying information; apply the same principles to parenting. Communicating is your responsibility.

DONíT TAKE THE OTHER PARENT FOR GRANTED. As simple as this guideline may seem, it may also be the most important. Building trust with the other parent does not mean you can take him or her for granted. After divorce, this becomes a dangerous form of disrespect and can rapidly lead to trouble.

The business-like relationship will be a benefit to your children as they watch a minor miracle occur. Their parents, two people they love deeply, are learning how to work together, despite feelings of anger and disappointment. This new ordering of priorities is a model of civilized behavior. You can teach them by your example how to devise an effective working relationship without sacrificing personal integrity.

Information summarized from: Momís House, Dadís House, Isolina Ricci, Ph.D., 1982