They used to be called "broken homes" - those families with children that experienced divorce. Now with more than a third of households in the United States headed by a single parent, much of the stigma has been resolved but the struggle remains. This is not just a US problem, as single parenting has been steadily rising around the globe. These parents may have experienced divorce, incarceration, teen pregnancy, or be single by design (adoption or same-sex parent families). Regardless of the "why", if you are parenting teenagers and dealing with the drama of court-ordered parenting plans, visitation schedules and child support, you are in the company of millions of other families struggling to find ways to realistically cope.

One of the most stressful parts of single parenting is balancing the parenting between two adults who are not living together. Some families are blessed to have great relationships as they grow apart, and in others the conflict can feel unmanageable.

If you are struggling with shared parenting issues, especially if you parent teenagers, there is hope! A New Year often brings New Year's Resolutions - those things you decide you're going to do differently or change. How many times have you made a Resolution, only to let it fall by the wayside as life stress takes you over? If you're feeling overwhelmed by the stress of shared parenting, take a look at the following Six Powerful Shared Parenting Resolutions, and make a decision to make a fresh start in 2012!

Resolution #1: I will not engage in angry interaction with my child's other parent!

If your teen's other parent tends to verbally attack you, be inconsistent, or put you down to your child, this Resolution may feel impossible! If you are concerned about the other parent's substance abuse, dating choices, or religious practices that are at odds with your beliefs, this Resolution will be even harder. But here's the secret: NO ONE can actually make you feel anything. That is simply a principle of human nature.

When you resort to angry interaction with your teen's other parent, you are giving away your own power. Think about that for a moment. There is a reason you are not together with your ex. Don't get in the habit of handing them the power to make you feel less-than or incompetent! In extreme cases you may need to establish new boundaries of communication, like always going through a third party or revising the official parenting plan. Even if you have exhausted all legal options and the conflict remains, make 2012 the year where you show your teen - and show yourself - that you are adult enough to not engage in angry interaction.

Resolution #2: I will genuinely support my child's need to love their other parent!

Okay, this one is tough! Especially if your child's other parent treats him or her in ways that wound their heart, you may be driven to put down the other parent by your need to protect your child. Don't do it! It is highly likely that your ex will not give you the same grace you're resolving to show. That's okay! YOUR goal as a parent is to provide an atmosphere where you can genuinely tell your child, "Your father may do things differently than we do, but he's still your dad and you get to love him!"

Sometimes adults forget that kids are amazingly forgiving. It is not a slap in your face to have your child love both of their parents. It is simply something that children DO.

Resolution #3: I will not attempt to control the way my child's other parent chooses to be a parent.

This Resolution seems straight forward, but is difficult to actually put into practice. Do you find yourself trying to get your ex to support your discipline style or consequences? Have you tried convincing your ex to have the same house rules as you do, or raged against his extravagant gifts? Are you often angry about your ex's inability to be on time for visits or breaking promises made to your child?

Guess what? The way that your ex performs his parenting "job" is no longer any of your business! Truly. Letting go of your need to control your child's other parent's parenting will free up your heart to be the parent YOU choose to be.

Resolution #4: I will not battle over finances.

This Resolution is incredibly powerful. After the court papers are filed and signed, the judge has determined the amount of money your child's other parent is supposed to provide, and you realize you haven't received any child support in six months, I challenge you to let it go. Now this does not mean don't talk with your attorney, or don't assist the proper authorities in collecting whatever support has been awarded legally. What this DOES mean is that you have the opportunity to step away from a "mission" of demanding money.

Decide not to ever nag your ex about the child support. Let go of your need to rant or make comparisons - and most definitely, NEVER battle about finances in the presence of your child of any age.

Resolution #5: I will stop demanding that my ex support MY parenting.

Think about this for a moment. Your relationship with your ex is over, if it was ever there in the first place. What makes you think you can convince him now to support you? Choose your parenting style based on your personal needs and beliefs, and the needs of your child. Then get the support you need from someone besides your ex.

If your ex has remarried or is in a relationship with someone you feel you cannot support, don't expect the new adult in the picture to support you. If they do, you have a bonus! If they don't (the more typical scenario), let it go.

Resolution #6: I will be the flexible parent, because I can be, and because its the right thing to do.

When you find yourself at odds with your ex over parenting issues, be the one to practice flexibility. Have a conflict over holiday visits? Be gracious and let your ex choose the visit that works for him. Have a conflict over boundaries and consequences? Be gracious and allow your ex the respect (even when he's not respectful of you) to choose how he practices discipline with your child. Getting angry over broken promises and late support payments and lifestyle issues? Gently remind your child that their other parent is an adult and makes different choices, but that you will remain firm in your own choices and in your support of your child loving their other parent.

Most importantly, when you feel the anger and frustration mounting, get support for YOU from someone besides your child!

Shared parenting, especially of teenagers, brings with it some of the most powerfully antagonistic relationship possibilities. Make a decision in this New Year - no, make a Resolution this year - to take control of your own life, your own family. Using these Six Powerful Shared Parenting Resolutions will transform your shared parenting experience from one of endless stress, to one of manageability. I challenge you to make these Resolutions, and then stick with them!

If you would like a little help in putting these Six Powerful Shared Parenting Resolutions into practice, contact me here and lets work together to make 2012 the year when you find HOPE!

Author's Bio: 

Ronae Jull writes from Washington State, where she is pursuing a graduate degree. With over 20 years experience coaching families, she remains ridiculously optimistic about teens, and passionate about transformational change. Read more by Ronae Jull, the HOPE Coach on her website,

"No matter how discouraged you're feeling right now about the challenges with your teenager, there is always HOPE."