Can Co-parenting Be Amicable After Divorce?
How do you parent together after a divorce? Often, the relationship between former spouses is filled with resentment and past hurt. So if you have kids together what do you do?
Where to start
It starts with being willing to make small changes in your behavior. The biggest trap I see is that people expect their ex to be different than they are - even after they split. This leads to nothing but frustration. Focusing on what the other person "should be doing" is a losing battle because you can't make your ex change.
What if instead you expect them to be exactly who they are? That means acknowledging the good and the painful. The relationship wasn't all bad or else you wouldn't have picked them in the first place.
If you think the ex is the problem, you stay in the problem. The vicious cycle of blame continues and everyone loses. Your kids suffer because they are caught in the middle.
You have the power to stop that.
It only takes one person to shift the dynamics in your relationship with your ex. When you change your behavior, the connection starts to heal.
You stop worrying about what they are doing and instead focus on the greater good of creating an amicable connection.
If you change YOUR part, you set a different tone. Think about it. How do you treat your ex - like a friend or foe?
Tips for improving your relationship after divorce
- Stop fighting about the marriage, the marriage is over right?
- Accept each other's limitations. It will save your sanity.
- Avoid rehashing old arguments. Focus on today.
- Ask for their opinion about the kids. It shows respect.
- When you talk, focus on one thing at a time. No dumping.
- Be flexible when asked for a favor. Kindness creates more of the same.
- Never use your children to pass messages between you. Commit to talking directly no matter what.
When you stop focusing on your ex, you'll be less frustrated. You'll have more energy to take care of yourself and your kids. It's the first step towards creating an amicable divorce.
You can set a different tone by being "light and polite." Say please and thank you even if you think you're going to choke on the words. It's much harder to fight with someone who is polite - so fake it until you make it!
The benefits of an amicable divorce
In the long run, co-parenting will be much easier if you an create an amicable connection now. Research shows that the connection you have after the divorce directly impacts how well your kids will adapt to the changes. If they see both of you being respectful, they learn that ending relationships - which is an important life lesson - can be handled with integrity. You can survive and move on. Isn't that a message worth sending?