By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Parenting during and after divorce can be complex, frustrating and confusing. However, every day parents around the world cope with the challenges and raise happy, well-adjusted children. There are many factors that impact your effectiveness as a co-parent. Here are five that greatly influence your pre- and post-divorce co-parenting success.
Monitor Your Attitude
Attitude plays a crucial part in every facet of our lives. It’s especially important when we’re parenting after divorce. If you make a commitment to creating as positive an experience as possible, on behalf of the children you love, you are on your way to succeeding.
What attitude are you conveying about your divorce? Try to catch your thoughts and the way you speak about it. Are you filled with negativity? Resentment? Fear? Are your days consumed with a “poor me” mindset? Are you attracting and spending time with others who indulge in pity-party sentiments? If so, it’s time for an overhaul in your thinking and attitude.
Of course, this is never easy. That’s why is wise to reach out to coaches or therapists for support. You are doing it not only for yourself. Your children are readily influenced by your moods. Those moods are impacted by your beliefs and decisions. There are tools you can use to shift your emotions in a more positive direction. It’s worth the effort.
A Child-Centered Divorce is created over weeks, months and years of attention to positive parenting. It’s never too late to start regardless of how long you have been divorced. The decisions you make today will affect the relationships within your family tomorrow. And for decades to come.
Understand the Power of Perceptions
The world is what we perceive it to be. Whether you believe it’s good or bad – you will be right – and create an outcome to justify your belief.
If you perceive yourself to be a victim in your divorce, you will focus on evidence to prove that to be true.
Instead, you can choose to look upon your divorce as a life experience to learn from. By embracing that perspective, you will become aware of many benefits and insights from the divorce. Despite the pain you also feel. In addition, you’ll be better able to accept responsibility for the part you played in the process. As a result, you’ll be more receptive to seeking new ways to live your life in the future focused on generating more positive results.
Sadly, it’s through challenging experiences that we grow and learn the most from life. Are you uncovering meaningful lessons for you?
Validate When You Communicate
Remember, everyone wants to feel “heard” and “validated.” That means listening more attentively. Start conversations or written communication with your Ex by stating something positive. Catch them doing something right. Find a behavior you agree with and say thanks. Do that before you dive into all the ways they are wrong, making mistakes, hurting your children, etc. It will create more balance in your communication and show respect.
Look for reasons to express appreciation, whenever possible. That opens the door to better and more effective co-parenting down the road.
Choose Your Battles
Your Ex is not your clone. You know the areas of disagreement you both have. Co-parenting is a life-long process. Find ways to avoid battles. Stand your ground only over major areas of concern affecting your children’s health and well-being. Avoid micromanaging. Let go of the more mundane frustrations and differences. That way you’re more likely to be heard and respected when you do have important points to make.
Be flexible and cooperative. By granting favors to your Ex when they ask, they are more likely to grant favors back to you. That simple gesture creates a more harmonious and flexible co-parenting experience.
Look for the Gift Behind the Challenge
There are always lessons to be learned from painful experiences. Perceive those lessons as “gifts” to you – wisdom and opportunities you would never have otherwise experienced. You can move on from your divorce a better, stronger, wiser person. There is always a gift you can benefit from if you look for it. Those who do are rewarded with greater insight and a more positive approach to every life challenge, even divorce!
*** *** ***
Rosalind Sedacca, CDC, is a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network. She is the author of the internationally-acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — With Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, her coaching services, programs and other valuable resources for co-parents, go to: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.