Creating a Strong Co-Parenting Relationship After Divorce
Last July I received a call from my ex husband I will never forget. He’d been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Both of us knew his diagnosis was deadly. Neither of us knew that he had only 10 weeks left.
We’d been divorced for three decades and after the first tumultuous years, we’d healed enough to create a strong co parenting relationship and celebrated our children’s birthdays and graduations , had danced at their weddings and celebrated the births of 3 grandchildren. My ex had read and endorsed the book I ‘d been writing, Befriending Your Ex After Divorce: Making Life Better for You, Your Kids and Yes, Your Ex and we’d even joked about taking a book tour together with both our new spouses!
You may be wondering how you might create a better divorce. Here are seven strategies I learned from my own journey:
1. Always remember: "Children do best when parents get along." Create a post-it with this message; paste it on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator and the dashboard of your car. Keep it in the front of your mind forever.
2. Create a vision of the new family you want to create. You are no longer married, but can still be a family. Use your imagination as an ally.
3. Learn to pause. Before bad mouthing your ex take three deep breaths. Bad mouthing harms everyone— your children, your ex and you, too.
4. Practice letting go. When you find yourself reviewing what went wrong in your marriage, imagine a red light. Stop. It’s not helpful—to you, your children or your ex—to review all that’s gone down. Learn to let go.
5. Practice gratitude and appreciation. The two most important words in the English language are "Thank you." Remember to thank your ex for small things, such as bringing the kids home on time.
6. When in doubt, take the high road. Imagine you are on a reality show on national TV and your behavior is continuously broadcast to the world. Your children are always your audience. They will learn from how you behave.
7. Create new rituals that will keep your new family together. Invite your ex in for a cup of coffee when s/he is dropping off your children. Or to join you when it’s “your” Thanksgiving
Dr. Judith Ruskay Rabinor, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, individual and group therapist, lecturer and workshop leader. She is the author of Befriending Your Ex After Divorce: Making Life Better for You, Your Kids and Yes, Your Ex (2013) and A Starving Madness: Tales of Hunger, Hope and Healing in Psychotherapy (2002).
Visit Dr. Judith Ruskay Rabinor online: www.judithruskayrabinorphd.com :
Tags: Parenting , Divorce , Family
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