Divorce and break-ups are a difficult life change for anyone. Feelings are hurt, reputations damaged; you have to decide who gets to keep the vintage teapot you found at the flea market that one time. What if you and your Ex have children? How do you keep the negative after shock from affecting your children? Can you really put it all aside and learn to parent together but separately? Co-parenting is hard but it can be done; just keep the following in mind.
Coming to Terms
Put your personal feelings in the past — and keep them there. Maybe he cheated on you, maybe she just wanted out. It does not matter anymore. Whether you split on good terms or you both left kicking and screaming, those emotions need to be locked in the past and only brought out when appropriate — like two a.m. when you just need to cry into your ice cream. Give yourself time to grieve, remembering to keep your feelings to yourself and other adults. Your children do not need to be privy to your feelings on this matter. Come to terms with the split and move on. The love you have for your children should ALWAYS outweigh the distaste you have for your Ex. It can be tempting to speak negatively about your Ex in front of the children, but do not!
Try to remember that there are two sides to every story. You can choose to throw yourself a pity party or you can admit that both of you had a part in the making and breaking of your relationship. Keep everything in perspective and do not let grudges turn your logic into an irrational mess. Remember that your Ex will more than likely move on some day and your children will gain a step-parent. This does not mean you are being replaced, simply that you will have to learn to be a mature adult and realize that this new person just wants to help. You can either accept or deny such help, but know that being vindictive and petty will not help you in the long run.
Keep it Simple
Set clear boundaries early on. Feelings and intentions can be unclear throughout the various stages of an ending relationship. Both of you need to discuss what behavior is acceptable or not. Make it very clear that although you are not partners in life anymore, you are still connected through your children — and that is all.
Keep communication strictly about the children. You do not need to update your Ex about new significant others or what you did in Pilates class today. Check yourself; if what you are about to say does not directly pertain to the children, do not say it.
Pick your battles. Is the world really going to end if your Ex forgot your daughter’s ballet shoes at his house? It is absolutely imperative that you not let the little things get to you. Getting angry and starting arguments over little things that are easily forgiven will do nothing but breed mistrust and resentment.
Limit courtroom drama. Learn to discuss important things and come to decisions regarding the children together and amicably. The less time you spend hashing out every difference in court is more time you can spend working on your family. Remember that your children are going through a life change too and they need both of their parents’ support — not hostility.
Letting negativity go and moving forward is a difficult thing to do but with these tips, co-parenting with your Ex and keeping things civil will become easier with time.
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Kyle Crawford writes about parenting, family finance & saving money.
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, relationship seminar facilitator and author of 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: Success Strategies for Getting It Right!, coaching services and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, visit //www.childcentereddivorce.com.
All rights reserved. © Rosalind Sedacca