This article was originally posted on www.drsueandyou.com
Divorced parents, please stop pointing fingers at one another and start co-parenting.
In a perfect divorce scenario, both parties separate amicably putting their children’s needs above their own misery. These parents recognize that their existing issues need to be resolved without involving the children. They do their best to compromise although at times they feel like pulling their hair out. They take responsibility for their mistakes and do everything in their power to correct it. In these cases we tend to see a well-adjusted child.
In another divorce scenario, parents part bitterly. This couple has a nasty split where their own anger towards one another prevents them from putting their children first. There is no sign of cooperating, compromising or working together to shield children from the animosity both ex-spouses display towards one another. In this scenario, children are placed in the middle of their parent’s unresolved anger. Sometimes, they are used as weapons by one angry parent to torture the other “healthy parent.”
Guess what usually happens to the child in the above divorce situation? Nothing very good! This child becomes confused and is asked to choose between their parents; a choice no child should ever have to make. Overall these children are not well-adjusted In most cases, the child ends up turning on the parent they once had a close relationship with because they are afraid of hurting the inappropriate parent. Nothing good comes of this situation. In the end, you have a traumatized child with a lot of mess to untangle.
Here are 3 empowering tips to make co-parenting livable:
- Make the children your main focus: Some divorced parents are confused on this issue…..hmmm? First, get your feelings out somewhere else. Do not share your feelings about the divorce with your children. That is why there is counseling. Adult conversations are for adults, not for children. This includes refraining from talks about court/custody issues.
- Listen: Try to manage disagreements with your ex through compromise, not anger. This is the mature way to resolve a difference of opinions. Do not talk over one another. It’s not important who has the last word. It is important that your children are well-adjusted. Your flexibility can help change your situation.
- Resist your impulses: Resist the urge to quickly respond to your ex’s nasty emails. If you do respond suddenly, you are only adding to the drama. Remember, the other parent is doing this to engage you in their game. Resist their game and do not put your kids in the middle. Instead, step back from the email for an hour or a day to calm down and refocus. When calm and refocused, respond only to the issues regarding the children.
Parenting after divorce takes some personal restraint, especially when you are trying to co-parent with an impulsive ex. The minute you lose personal control, you have decided to enter into a chaotic world of never-ending drama. Make the choice to put your children’s needs first. No child wants to be in the middle of their parent’s divorce.
About Dr. Sue
Dr. Sue Cornbluth is a nationally recognized parenting expert in high conflict parenting situations. She has been named “Top Advocate and Professor for Human Rights”. She is a regular mental health contributor for an array of networks and television shows such as NBC, FOX, and CBS. Dr. Sue has also contributed to several national publications. Her new best-selling book, “Building Self Esteem in Children and Teens who are Adopted or Fostered” is available now.
To learn more about Dr. Sue, visit DrSueandYou.com