Eps 376: The legalities of co-parenting teens with Sabrina Shaheen Cronin

Episode 376

My guest today is Sabrina Shaheen Cronin, and we’re digging deep into co-parenting teens. 

Sabrina shares her wisdom and expertise on all-things related to divorce, custody, co-parenting, & step families.  We get into the legalities of co-parenting & custody agreements and how to move forward while keeping the well-being of your child(ren) at the forefront.  Sabrina and I talk about looking at divorce as an opportunity for personal growth (which can be so hard) and how co-parenting is not a one-size-fits-all thing.  We discuss how to navigate your teens preferences and rights when it comes to custody, and I ask Sabrina for tips on getting on the same page with an ex partner. 

Guest Description 

Sabrina is the founding and managing partner of The Cronin Law Firm in Bloomfield Hills.  She’s a nationally recognized motivational speaker, a life and business coach, as well as a writer, mentor, and all-around successful business woman. 

Her years of experiences working in and outside of the legal profession, on both sides of the prosecutor’s table, have made her a positive force in the life of her clients and employees alike.  She currently lives in the metro Detroit area with her three children whom she adores and is the reason she strives to be the best version of herself at all times.  Through her own personal experience, she has become a strong advocate for promoting healthy co-parenting relationships across the globe.  Her workshops are a go-to course for custody litigants in every jurisdiction nationwide.  

Sabrina is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received her JD and MBA at University of Detroit Mercy.  She’s licensed to practice law in Michigan, New York, and Illinois.  

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Takeaways from the show

  • What does healthy co-parenting look like?
  • Divorce as an offering for personal growth 
  • Legalities of co-parenting & custody arrangements 
  • The rights & preferences of teens during divorce & regarding custody 
  • Family therapy 
  • How to get on the same page with an ex partner 
  • New partners & step families 
  • “Remember you love your child more than you hate your ex” 
  • Co-parenting with difficult & toxic exes

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I know that joy is a much deeper concept than happiness.  Joy is from within. Being joyful means that you are that peaceful, confident, steady human being.  When you are filled with joy, it’s a truly contented feeling.  When you show courage, it means that you are mentally strong to do something that you are otherwise fearful of or that you are afraid to do or pursue.  When you have joyful courage, to me, it is that steadfast strength, that confidence within you, to do really, anything in the face of adversity – to face your fears, to have that talk, to persevere through hardship, all the while being at peace with yourself, knowing that you are doing the very best you can and knowing truly that all is well – not only with yourself, but with everything because you are doing the very best you can, because you are that joyful, courageous person. 



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Casey O'Roarty, Sabrina Shaheen Cronin

Casey O'Roarty 00:04
Hey, welcome to the joyful courage podcast a place for inspiration and transformation as we try and keep it together, while parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work people and when we can focus on our own growth, and nurturing the connection with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for relationships to remain intact. My name is Casey already I am your fearless host. I'm a positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent needed spreadable. I am also the mama to a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son walking right beside you on this path of raising our kids with positive discipline and conscious parenting. This show is meant to be a resource to you and I work really hard to keep it real, transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported. Today is an interview and I have no doubt that what you hear will be useful to you. Please don't forget sharing truly is caring. If you love today's show, please pass the link around snap a screenshot posted on your socials or texted to your friends. Together we can make an even bigger impact on families all around the globe. I'm so glad that you're here. Enjoy the show.

Casey O'Roarty 01:26
Hi, listeners. Welcome back to the show. My guest today is Sabrina Shaheen Cronin. Sabrina is the Founder and Managing Member of the Cronin law firm in Bloomfield Hills. She's a nationally recognized motivational speaker, a life and business coach, as well as a writer, mentor and all around successful businesswoman. Her years of experience working in and outside of the legal profession, on both sides of the prosecutors table have made her a positive force in the lives of her clients and employees alike. She currently lives in the metro Detroit area with her three children whom she adores, and is the reason she strives to be the best version of herself at all times. Through her own personal experience. She has become a strong advocate for promoting healthy co parenting relationships across the globe. Her workshops are a go to course for custody litigants in every jurisdiction nationwide. Sabrina is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received her JD and MBA at University of Detroit Mercy, she's a licensed to practice law in Michigan, New York and Illinois. Hi, Sabrina, welcome to the pod. Hi, Casey. Thank you. Yeah, I'm so glad to welcome you, I'm really looking forward to this conversation, because I know a lot of my listeners are in the trenches of navigating the co parenting space. But let's just start with a little bit more background about how you found yourself supporting people with healthy co parenting.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 03:02
So that's a loaded question. But I'll give you the short version. Okay, doing lots of divorce work and custody work that comes along with, you know, mostly divorces. But oftentimes more and more I see cases that in clients that haven't been married, but they still have very high conflict, very litigious custody battles. The people that suffer the most in that scenario are the children. And when I also two went through a divorce, and I have children, and we had our own, you know, custody decisions to make, it became quickly apparent to me that, despite all the feelings that I was having at the time, which as we all know, are high at that time. And when most people go through a divorce, they're usually at their lowest, you know, we don't go into any kind of a union, thinking we're going to have a divorce. And if you do, then perhaps your motivation for getting into that union is different anyway. But nine times out of 10 people enter into a marriage or a union or any kind of relationship with the best of intentions. And so when people are going through that type of situation with high drama, high conflict, high emotion, children suffer. And so it became very near and dear to my heart, not only because I went through it, but also because of the years of personal experience that I had with my clients that I invest so much in, I care about their well being I care about their future, I care about their happiness, well beyond their case, that look we got to get to the deeper issue and that is how can we do this? That is not only helpful for them, but also helpful for the kids in the family unit in general moving forward

Casey O'Roarty 05:00
Yeah, I love that. I mentioned this a couple of times already on the pod, but something that I've started to really recognize in my work, I work with parents, parents of teenagers. And I was talking to somebody about, you know, who are you taking a stand for. And I realized, you know, as much as my FaceTime is with the parents, I'm really taking a stand for teens, right, to be seen, to be heard, to be acknowledged to be considered. Right. And it sounds like, that's your work, too. Right? You're working with the parents helping them navigate this highly emotional because high emotions, low cognitive ability, right? Like, right? It's slippery and tricky. And I love that you're out there standing for kids as well.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 05:41
You know, it's interesting case, because not a lot of lawyers do that not a lot of lawyers put themselves at the forefront to say, hey, client, get a hold of yourself, you know, you might want to be vindictive, you might want to be xy or Z, but you are only hurting the health, the emotional stability of your children's future, you know, you're undermining your family unit, if you want to be seen as the quote unquote, best parent or the one that, you know, you want your children to feel safe with, well, then you better start acting that and being that and being that role model, and it is hard. I am not judging, I am not saying that this is easy, because it is flippin hard to do that. And, again, when people are at their lowest, like you said before, when you have high emotions, your thought process is very poor.

Casey O'Roarty 06:41
Limited, right? Or that

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 06:42
your cognitive ability, your reasoning, your rational thinking, that's out the window. So it's not easy. And a lot of clients don't like to hear what I have to say a lot of clients aren't ready to hear it. So it's my job to help them get there.

Casey O'Roarty 06:56
Yeah, it seems like it would be really challenging. It's a big ask right to invite people to set the hurt and the ego and the fragility aside and center the good of the kids. So what do you find? You know, when you invite people into that, what are the barriers that come up that make it so hard for people to really keep the kids at the center,

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 07:22
their pain, their animus toward their acts, their shame, their guilt, their ego, all of it? Many times they don't want the divorce, or they think they're protecting the kids by keeping them away from their acts. And sometimes they are, I'm not talking about, you know, if there's an abusive situation, if there is high, high, high conflict, if we're dealing with extreme narcissism or sociopathic behavior, or emotional or mental or verbal, physical abuse, any kind of abusive behavior, well, then, absolutely. I do not want the children in harm's way. Right. And sometimes I do have to inform the client that it's not in the best interest to have joint custody. Sometimes parents don't want joint custody. In fact, I've bought in one for primary custody for a man only for him to then later years later, not want it because he couldn't handle it. So you know, it's interesting, the dynamics, and it's interesting people's motivation. You don't know truly what motivates someone until you get in the trenches with them.

Casey O'Roarty 08:34
Yeah. Just even as I listened to talk, I'm thinking about people who are listening. And about that dynamic. I am a child of divorce. Poor co parenting, I love my parents, but I mean, it was the 80s. Right? So they had limited resources. And that mindset was really different.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 08:51
Did you have a true? Was it a 5051? Oh, no,

Casey O'Roarty 08:55
nobody helped with a thing. I mean, it was I got to see dad every other weekend in two weeks over the summer, right? Like that was a goal. Very typical. Yeah. Anyway, that's a whole nother tangent. Very close. But yeah, so I'm thinking too, about how interesting it must be in your work. Because, like, just regardless of who's sitting in your office, right, there's somebody else who has a story, right, who has a perspective and opinion, you know, might be a different reality, but it's equally valid. Right? And how tricky that must be.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 09:30
Well, there are always always multiple sides to every story. And I don't always say two because there usually are more than two, especially when there's children involved. And you and I could be hearing the same person say something or do something and we interpret it differently based upon our own pre programming, our own, you know, subconscious pre conscious, you know, our own biases, all of that. Yeah. And that every client At walks through my door, we all have our own tendencies to look at things a certain way. Some people judge more than others. Some people, you know, don't have the ability to be sympathetic or empathetic, they cannot put themselves in someone else's shoes, and sometimes hurt. Also that they don't want to write like, Screw that, why should I care about what my ex is thinking? Because, you know, he did XY and Z to me, you know, so it's tough. Yeah, it's not easy.

Casey O'Roarty 10:32
You know, we kind of throw out the word co parenting as if we all understand what that means. So when you talk about co parenting, what is that break that down? For us? What is healthy co parenting look like? What's the ideal?

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 10:43
Honestly, the ideal is different for every family. And it depends on the child or children. And it depends on the ages of those children. And it depends on how that family unit acted and performed prior to that separate, you know, the two household separation for the kids. So co parenting doesn't necessarily mean 5050 parenting time or joint custody or whatever. To me, a co parent is someone who is willing to discuss in a very professional, polite kind way the needs of their child or children, and not to withhold or alienate the love the affection of the other parent, to in fact, help the child see the benefits of the other parent. You know, everyone has a negative side to them. Everybody has pros and cons. We're no one is perfect. And actually, if someone thinks they're perfect, that's all subjective perfection is so frickin subjective anyway, yeah. Right. So, for a child to feel loved and nurtured, which is the cornerstone of any healthy human being, they need to know that both parents love them. How do you do that? Well, even if the father, let's just say, and I'm not saying Father, mother for any other reason, other than just giving this example, let's just say the Father is not in the picture as much, instead of the mother saying, oh, you know what your dad is blah, blah, blah, negatively, or in a negative tone. She could say, your father loves you very much. I'm sure he regrets not being able to be here for you. Or, you know, you haven't seen your father in a while. I'm sure this trip would mean a lot to him. And you could gain a different, I don't know, experience perspective, relationship, if there's a step family involved. Instead of being jealous or fearful of having your child be involved with that other step family, if it's a healthy environment, if there's no abuse, etc, no drinking drugs, all that stuff. Then Encourage your child to want to get to know perhaps their step siblings, for a richer experience you add to their life, you could help them. Take away the fear. Take away the anxiety by how you act. Children don't remember specific instances necessarily, they remember feelings. They remember feeling nurtured feeling safe, feeling secure. And so long as you're providing that in your household, then that will only help amplify their experience if they go on a part time basis somewhere else. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 13:54
Gosh, you know, I'm listening to you. And I'm thinking about the level of personal growth and willingness to do that deep inner work of letting go of hurt, and letting go of blame and letting go of victim. There is a lot of personal work that we're invited into, as we transition out of relationship from a significant other, right,

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 14:19
JC unless you do that work, you will continue to repeat the same patterns over and over and over again. And instead of blaming the other person all the time, you have to look at yourself. And yeah, it's not always, you know, he said, she said, sometimes there really is one person to blame. But even in that instance, you can still find the challenge or that adversity. Somehow there's a lesson in it for you. Yeah, in order for you to take yourself out of that victim mode or that mentality. You should always try to strive to find the lesson so that you can continue to grow. Because if you're not growing in this lifetime, well, then you're stagnant and you're dying. What are you doing? Right? Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 15:08
yeah, totally. And listeners, I want you to really, really hear that. Because you might be thinking, No, the other person was shitty to me, they did a shitty thing. They wrapped it all, then that can be totally true. And the choice point is, am I going to live inside of this pain and blame and carry on from that place? Or am I going to say, Yep, and I get to create a new life for myself, I get to let that go and make sure that my kids have a relationship that supports them on both sides. And I mean, it's humbling. And, you know, I just think life is continuously unfolding and offering up all sorts of opportunities for this exact work, whether it's somebody getting sick, or my listeners know, like, the shit that comes up with teenagers, like life is going to continue to offer it's an offering, right? Yes, even as I say that, I'm thinking of some of my people who, you know, just really are moving through the gauntlet with this transition, or even just living with this axe and trying to co parent I see you and I know that it might feel like today, she doesn't know what you know what I'm going through. And you're right, and you know what you're going through, and you get to decide every day, if you're going to let what you're going through, take you down or grow you up. So

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 16:37
in Casey, it's not to diminish what they're going through, or the feelings that they have. I mean, those are real, and they hurt. And if someone hurt you shame on them. Right? Yeah, shame on that person who you loved, who you trusted, you were vulnerable with and they betrayed you. They betrayed your trust. How dare they do that? Well, don't you make that about you? Right? And it's hard not to do that. It's hard not to feel completely insecure completely. at your lowest when someone does that to you, when the person you love the most, betrays you the most, that is a huge violation. Yeah, how can you then move on to ever think that you can ever give yourself again, to anyone else? It's hard, right? It is hard. But in those moments, show yourself some grace, learn, take time, feed your own soul, because it's so much better to realize that you shouldn't be looking outside of yourself for that validation anyway. Right. And in order to move on from it, in order to grow from it, you have to start feeding your own soul, you have to start feeding yourself. And when you start realizing that you are your own best friend, and that you can give yourself that same love, and understanding and peace and nurturing, you will then be able to let go of the people who have hurt you. Over the years, including the god forsaken acts, right? Yeah, yeah. And then you're able to look at the eyes of your children and say, You know what, despite all this other shit in the past, I can still do what's best for my children. And that might look differently for every family, right? Again, depending on this really enhances, but I know what I need to do for my children so that they live a better life than I had, so that we can move forward peacefully, and cope aesthetically, and all will be well. And you know, it's hard. I mean, teams like, you know, I know you focus with teens and teens have a hard enough time as it is. Their lives are so filled with so much stuff and stress and angst and we want to help them through that the best we can.

Casey O'Roarty 19:07
Yeah, and I really thank you for that. And by the way, everyone, therapies for everyone, get a therapist, get a coach, like you're not meant to do all this personal work on your own. There are people who are trained to support you in that. So absolutely. There's that also. So coming back to I really appreciate that there's some nuance to your response, like it's not a cut and dry. This is what healthy co parenting looks like. I really appreciate that you you know, recognize that. Families are different dynamics are different. And I know I have some friends who have been through you know, transition of relationships, some that were married and it was a divorce and others that it was more no marriage, but still things to work out. So when we're talking about co parenting, and if we haven't been through it what Are the legalities like, where are there places where the court gets involved? What does that look like?

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 20:06
Well, if someone wants to enter into a formal custodial agreement with child custody, they need to go through the courts. If they trust their partner to just have a contract, you know, then maybe they don't have to go through the courts. But typically, in a divorce situation to be legally divorced, you have to, you know, I know different religions have different types of, you know, divorces themselves, in different religions do things differently. But that's not illegal. Divorce.

Casey O'Roarty 20:39
Yeah, let's just keep it on the legal because getting those.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 20:43
Alright, sounds good. Yeah, I've dealt with a lot of different types of things. So from a legal perspective, if you want a true custody arrangement, and establishing, you know, child support, if you need child support, or, you know, the parenting time schedule, there are various types of things that you do. And different states have different requirements. In many states, there are two different types of custody, we have legal custody, we have physical custody, and physical custody is just that, where is the child spending the time, usually the parenting time is considered for overnights and that's, you look at the overnights for parenting time, when you're dealing with support. Support in Michigan, for instance, and many other states is determined and based upon in large part, how many overnights that child is with either parent, okay. Other things are taken into consideration, obviously, daycare, medical expenses, etc. So when you divvy up the custody, the legal side of a child's life has to do with education, medical, dental, all the legal sides of that child's life. So typically, when the parents can get along well, and they have a good co parenting relationship, we share legal custody, meaning if I'm taking my child or our child to the doctor on my day, then I'm going to let the other parent know, look, you know, Johnny has 102 degree temperature, he needs to take this type of medicine and he'll be off school for X amount of days, or, you know, both parents have access to the medical records. Both parents have access to the school records, etc. That's the typical joint custody arrangement. And usually joint custody deals with the legal side of a child's life. Okay, the physical is where do they spend their time? Okay. Right. And usually, it's all about parenting time.

Casey O'Roarty 22:44
And what about what rights do the kids have, if any, are inside of this arrangement? Because, again, as I've mentioned, you know, my listeners are primarily parents of teenagers. And as kids move into adolescence, life, opinions, yes, all perspective, things start to grow and develop and evolve in these growing humans. And they have some thoughts. So what are the rights of teens inside of this,

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 23:14
most courts across the nation? Listen to a child's voice, the older they get, okay? If a child is older, 1415 when they start driving, you know that basically, they can pretty much even if there is a custody order in place, saying, you know, Johnny has to be at the home's 5050. And he doesn't want to be well, good luck trying to get someone who weighs just as much as you carried and lifted and taken Sure. The other person's house. I mean, it's very hard. Yeah. And a court order can say all they want well, you know, the parent has to insist that they go, Okay. Well, they insist now what, right? So you can encourage you can foster, you can do everything you can as the parent to try to build that bridge with the other parent. But if the child doesn't feel, wanting to do that, or desirous of that relationship, then that's really up to the child. However, I do encourage, you know, therapy, family therapy, depending on the level of interest of the other parent, right parent could suggest family therapy or therapy for the two of them or therapy for all of them. You know, it really depends on how many years leading up to a hit was happening, what happened, what transpired, is there another person in the mix, I find that a lot of kids don't like being at the other person's home, if there is another party involved if that other parent is recently married, or has other children with someone else? Because if they don't feel comfortable in that other home environment, they're not going to want to go I mean, can you blame them?

Casey O'Roarty 24:53
I left I did this I was 15. I was 15 and I moved in with my dad full time. Yeah, yeah. So no blame, no blame in that game.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 25:04
No, right. And you can't blame the child or children for not wanting to feel like a ping pong ball or not wanting to feel uncomfortable or, you know, not wanting more stress in their life. Yeah. But it's hard because the parent then is afraid of disciplining, of having rules. So there is a fine line. And you have to be very delicate when dealing with their feelings.

Casey O'Roarty 25:29
Yeah, yeah. And I'm just thinking, I know that I've had parents talk to me just about, you know, my house is where their structure and there's routine and there's limits, and the other parents house is seemingly no structure and no one has. Right, right, the fun house, right. And so trying to navigate that, and trusting. I mean, for me, when I left when I moved in with my dad, it was because of the structure that existed at my dad's house, because I was in a situation that kind of started to become really loose. And I would say permissive, except for it wasn't so much permissive as much as it just was kind of a little neglectful. And I was in high school, and it filled me up that somebody was like, What do you got going on for homework, and I'm gonna come watch, you play softball, and there's dinner at six. You know, that was something that I really appreciated. Of course, after a while, I was like, God, why do you care so much about my homework, but I didn't go anywhere. Like that was where it felt safe in that structure.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 26:36
Children crave structure. Yeah. And even if they push back, they still, on a deep level, appreciate the consistency. They appreciate the care and the thought. And they understand that. Like you said before, if a parent isn't asking about certain things, you know, or is perhaps tolerating bad behavior, well, then maybe that parent isn't as interested or is maybe too lazy to help them with their homework or to insist that they brush their teeth every night or, you know, bedtime at 930, or whatever it is. It's hard to be the parent to have that structure. It's not easy, right? But children really crave that. And if you have that home base, prior to their entering their teens, as they enter their teens, they are going to want to be with you probably more or even if they go to the other parents home, because they're it's a fun home. They will be back. You have to trust that.

Casey O'Roarty 27:38
Yeah, well, I think too. And this is something I talk a lot about on this podcast, that structure coupled with relationship coupled with validation coupled with really knowing our kids, I'm thinking about you listeners, and thinking about those of you that have reached out and said, Oh, my gosh, how do I hold the limits? When I keep hearing from a kid? This sucks? I don't have to do this at mom's house, or this isn't how it is at dad's house? Which because I've heard both, right? And you get to say, Yeah, I bet that super confusing. And I bet it seems like a lot freer over there. And, you know, you matter to me. And it matters to me that I keep you safe and your health and well being matters to me. So being able to not react listeners is for you. And for myself, not to react to the pushback that our kids are giving us. And really just drop into that, you know, I'm in it for your health and well being and I love you. And I understand that this doesn't feel good to you, instead of, you know, trying to convince them why it's good or trying to convince them. You know why it's bad over there. And just really sitting inside of and recognizing your teens experience with that. I think it's really powerful.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 29:00
It's extremely powerful. And you asked earlier about a healthy co parenting relationship? Well, it's based on respect, yeah, which is very hard. You know, for people, it's hard to show respect for the other parent, especially if there's so much water under the brain. However, in a really healthy co parenting relationship, both parents are aligned with the same rules in their homes, and realize it's for the betterment of their children. If the two parents can get together and say, hey, the rule that my house is, you know, no tech after, I don't know, 930 or 10 Bedtime at such and such a time, right? Whatever the rule is, if they can both establish that same ground rule in each home, it only helps the child. So instead of wanting to be the more fun parent or the one with all the toys or the one buying all these gadgets or whatever, you guys can come together and be aligned at least on one or two things like that. Ah, that would be awesome. Yeah. And like you said, showing love, even with discipline, and letting your child know that, you know, really this discipline is because I love you, you know, this is because I want what's best for you? Yeah, having that balance, having that healthy mix of, you know, somehow showing them why you're doing certain things. That's really great. If your listeners can do that.

Casey O'Roarty 30:33
Do you have any advice or tips for people that want to or eager to get on at least one same page with their partner? And it's hard to, you know, well, even as I say that, it's like, well, if the axe is sitting inside of that animosity, and I'm thinking about particular people that I know of, in my life, who it's more important to hurt the axe than it is to put the kids first, do you have any tips, how to navigate that seems impossible.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 31:06
If you have someone, your axe, even if you're dealing with custody, or sometimes it's easier to deal with custody, if you don't have those strong feelings for the other person, you know, or did. But again, you just have to let it all go. And I always say you have to love your child more than you hate your ex. And that is a big ask,

Casey O'Roarty 31:27
that's a big mic drop to Will you say that, again, just for the people in the back.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 31:31
You have to love your child more than you hate your acts. And every action. Every intention, every motivation behind every action has to have that thought behind as your motive is that and if you have an axe who doesn't do that, well, then you call them out on it. And you have every right to call them out on it. You know, and if they're that immature, that they cannot get hold of their emotions. And maybe it's because they still love you so much. Right? Usually they hate you because they love you. indifference. As you know, Casey is when there is no more hate. Indifference is the opposite of love, not hate. You know, hate is just the flip side of the same coin. So when you become indifferent enough to let it all go, that's when you can get your power back. And that's when you can say to your ex look, I'm doing what's right for our child. You clearly are not will you start please being a mature adult that I know you can be. That was the man I married years ago that was the man I fell in love with. Can you be that person? Please, if not for anything other than our child, yeah. Love your child more than you hate me, I love your child more than you despise or want to get back at me or want to be vindictive, or whatever. You know, and if there's another person, if there's a third party involved, which I know a lot of your listeners have that and that is so hard to always do the best thing and do what's right for your children. When you have that. Just remember that you love your child more than you hate your axe.

Casey O'Roarty 33:14
Yeah, that's so big. That's so big. What about, you know, I'm thinking about, again, clients, friends who are in this situation. And, you know, being with when a child or a teen really starts to feel like, you know, mom doesn't care about me or dad doesn't care about me, you know, when you see your child in pain, because of the actions of the other parent. Do you have any suggestions for how to be with that in a way that's helpful? And that doesn't throw that x partner, you know, to the wolves are under the bus? Yeah,

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 34:00
that's really hard. Sometimes, you just have to sit with your child. Sometimes it's a hug. Sometimes it's a you know what, honey, I am so so sorry. That you're feeling this much pain. I wish I could take that pain away. You know, I know your father loves you so much. But you know, we're all imperfect human beings. We all struggle with things and sometimes your dad has a hard time showing you No, but please know how loved you are. And I love you with all

Casey O'Roarty 34:42
my heart. So responding with something like yeah, your mom's a total bitch isn't really the direction to go ahead. It's a brand new day. Yeah, right. Get your journal out for that comment. Just pour it out into your journal people. Yeah, I mean,

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 34:58
I've seen some pretty bad such We, where there's some major depression because of the other parent and it can be very, very troubling. Yeah. And painful for you as the parent to see your child suffer like that, right? And then you want to shield them and Mama Bear papa bear comes in, and you don't want them to be exposed to that. And you're entitled to that. Until there's some healthy boundaries on the other side, you know, I mean, you got to do what you have to do to make sure your child's Okay, yeah, and sometimes it is keeping your child from the other parent,

Casey O'Roarty 35:26
right? It's so hard, and I just am really, my heart is just swelling for everyone that's listening who's, you know, in a situation where co parenting, you know, you can see how it could be, but it feels impossible to get there. And I think, you know, this scenario of your child hurting, you know, that is going to show up in a variety of contexts on the parenting journey. And here's just one more opportunity to be with your own discomfort around your kids discomfort, right? Being it's okay, right and trusting. And what do you think about this, actually, because this is something I say to clients, even clients who are in an intact marriage, which is your child's relationship with your partner, your ex partner, is theirs to create, it's not necessarily your responsibility? What do you think about that?

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 36:22
It's not your responsibility. But there is a lot that you can do to either encourage him or discourage it, for sure. Yeah. And I've seen both, you can alienate, you know, it's interesting, because you mentioned even under the same roof, you know, if you're still married, I have this issue with marriage. You know, I mean, married couples, with children, you know, if one party undermined the other in either in front of their child, or, you know, if the mom says they can do something, the dad says absolutely not. You know, I mean, the parents have to be aligned, I don't care if you're under the same household or two separate ones, it's still the same effect on your child. Right. So this conversation is very applicable to marry couples as well, you know, who had children and raising children, or, you know, stepchildren, you know, if you have stepchildren, and you know, biological children all under the same house, you have, you know, you have to be equal in terms of how you're treating people, you know, you know, disparity. And, yeah, you know, it's a good way to be, and you asked before, about, you know, different ideas or different things, even if you're living in two separate households, you know, just just start with one start with one thing, maybe homework before, you know, tech, you know, finish your homework first, that should be the common role, or no friends or no, this, you know, no going out until you finish your homework, or you have to get a job when you reach a certain age, whatever the rule is, have one rule start small.

Casey O'Roarty 37:47
Yeah, I love that. That's such great permission, right? Because that feels doable versus this whole ideal co parenting plan. And I think too, so I like to think about the compass, right? Like, our compass is pointed towards alignment, right? We want to be moving in the direction of being aligned and having each other's backs. And we're super messy human beings, right? And we get it, we make mistakes, we fall apart, we let our emotions get the best of us. And listeners, you know what I'm going to say now, I'm sure like, when that happens when that disalignment, either with your, you know, co parent happens, or even the disalignment within you yourself happens. And you realize, like, oh, man, I just really fucked that up, you get to come back to your kids and say, Yeah, you know, last night, when, you know, Dad and I mom and I were kind of in conflict, that was probably really confusing to you. And so we've had a conversation and here's what we've come up with. And sorry that we weren't clear yesterday, we're gonna really work on having clarity around these kinds of questions in the future, right? There's always room listeners to, to clean it up, when we've made a mistake, because you're gonna you're gonna make mistakes in like, either throwing your partner under the bus, or letting those emotions get the best of you, you're gonna make mistakes, and that all is not lost.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 39:17
You know, what else happens sometimes is when the other parent will twist the words that you've said to your child. So what happens in that instance, and sometimes I've encouraged just call the other parent have a conversation in front of your child, all three of you get on the phone. Yeah. And say, Hey, did you say X, Y, and Z? Or, you know, let's clarify this because our son is confused. Yeah, without being hostile or no, no random in your voice, but just truly, again, with that same intention of doing what's in the best interest for your child, you know, don't have any kind of anger or hostility or whatever, just you know, hey, this is what he said that you said. And you know, I'm just a little confused because I didn't say that. Can we explain this? so that our son understands.

Casey O'Roarty 40:02
Yeah. And again, for the sake of the kids loving your kids more than you can't stand your axe, right? I mean, this is messy. And if you're listening and thinking this would be great if that other person wasn't such a psychopath, you know, we see you we love you come into the trifle courage community, I'm gonna let Sabrina talk about the communities that she runs for parents, you know, find a support, find a place where you can share your experience and feel seen and supported by others that are moving through it as well. As we wrap things up, is there anything else you want to make sure you leave listeners with today, Sabrina?

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 40:43
You know, Casey, what you had just said to about a difficult, extremely narcissistic or psychopathic X, You'll never change that person, because they'll never think it's them or that they have anything to fix. It's always everybody else's problem, or your child's problem. So in those instances, that's when you really, really, really need to do a lot of work on yourself, so that you can stand tall, have those boundaries, realize it's not you. And Ben, sometimes it is important to shelter your child and the best way you know how and for every situation is different, you know, and be very careful with what you say and how you say it to the other parent. So sometimes, you know, just really know that the term co parenting isn't the co parenting that you might think, sometimes healthy co parenting is really more to do with yourself, and learning how to navigate those waters with a toxic ex. Right? Yeah. And that healthy, quote, unquote, healthy co parenting is just that navigating those waters. So be kind to yourself, show yourself some grace, but every step of the way, try to learn and be a better person for you, so that you can be a better mom or better dad, for your child.

Casey O'Roarty 42:06
So good. My final question that I asked all my guests is, what does joyful courage mean to you?

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 42:13
So I know that joy is a much deeper concept than happiness, right? It's that joy is from within. being joyful means that you are that, that peaceful, that confident, that steady, human being, when you are filled with joy, it is a truly contented feeling. When you show courage, that means that you are mentally strong, to do something that you are otherwise fearful of, or that you are afraid to do or pursue. When you have that joyful courage to me, it is that steadfast strength, that with that confidence within you to do really anything in the face of adversity, to face your fears, to have that talk to persevere through hardship, all the while being at peace within yourself, knowing that you are doing the very best you can. And knowing truly, that all is well. Not only with yourself, but with everything, because you are doing the very best you can. Because you are that joyful, courageous person. Hmm.

Casey O'Roarty 43:37
That's a great just summary of everything that we got to talk about in this interview. Thank you for that. Thank you, Casey. Yeah, where can people find you and follow your work and talk a little bit about, you know, I mentioned in your bio, that you've got courses and things, so share with us.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 43:56
So I have an office in Michigan, but I do a lot of different, you know, coaching and counseling throughout the entire country and sometimes out of the country as well. When I say counseling, I'm not a certified therapist, I want to make that very clear. I am more of a life coach. But through the years and 1000s of clients that have represented, I take the the attorney and counselor, the counselor aspect of that title very seriously. And usually that's coupled with the legal aspects, but because of all the different things that I've seen with all these different people in relationships, and my own personal struggles and growth and everything that I've been through, I feel as though I am able to help people on a level that will maybe help them you know, hack their way into a better life a lot sooner than I was able to and I just really want to give back and everything that I've done so I have workshops, I do a lot of one on ones I do different niche you know work If someone's going through a legal battle, and they need my help, even if I'm not their lawyer, I can certainly help them. So there's a lot of different things that I do. I do a lot of work one on one with CO parents, with people going through highly toxic situations. I've also helped a lot of employment situations, whether it's a top level CEO going through an issue at work or an employer. It really just depends, but mostly it's with relationships, and communication and helping people through crises.

Casey O'Roarty 45:28
Yeah. What's your website?

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 45:30
It's Sabrina shaheen.com. Okay. And I have a law firm. It's the Cronin Law Firm. I'm on all platforms under Sabrina Shaheen Cronin, from Instagram, Facebook, you no matter. So, yeah, great, you can find me anywhere.

Casey O'Roarty 45:45
Awesome. We'll put all of those links in the show notes. You are a busy lady. So I'm really grateful that you spent some time with me today. Thank you so much for your wisdom and your support for my listeners.

Sabrina Shaheen Cronin 45:58
Casey, thank you so much. I'm grateful that you found me and that you have me on your show and I hope if anyone needs any other questions or help please feel free to reach out to me through you and anything that they need. Yeah, so awesome.

Casey O'Roarty 46:18
Thank you so much for listening in today. Thank you to my spreadable partners as well as Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting the show out there and making it sound good. Check out our offers for parents with kids of all ages and sign up for our newsletter to stay connected at B spreadable.com. Tune back in later this week for our Thursday show and I'll be back with another interview next Monday. Peace

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