A divorce legally ends the marriage, but the unfinished business of raising the children still exists. When the parents continue fighting, the children feel that tension. They may feel unstable, concerned, stressed, and in some cases frightened. Ongoing conflict between the parents is the #1 CAUSE of suffering and maladjustment in children of divorce.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Consider these 3 tips.
1. Recognize You’re in New Territory
Following a separation or divorce, it’s normal to feel confused about how to interact with the other parent now. The situation is confusing. The challenge is to learn to relate to your child’s other parent in a completely new way to achieve your common goal of raising healthy children.
2. Consider Taking a Parenting Course Online for Divorced Parents
These classes go by many names (“parenting,” “co-parenting,” “family stabilization,” etc.) but the goal is always the same: to help parents learn ways to successfully raise well-adjusted children between 2 homes. The information is so useful that many divorce courts require the parents to complete a class, and file a certificate of completion with the court, before dissolving a marriage involving minor children.
But you don’t need a court order to take a class. Just go online, register, and get the information today. Investing 4 hours in The Texas Cooperative Parenting Course online can give you a lot of bang for your buck. Everyone benefits when there is less conflict at home.
3. Move Away from Intimacy and Back to a Business-Like Acquaintanceship with Your Ex
Instead of interacting as husband and wife (which you no longer are), it is very liberating to form a completely new business-like acquaintanceship with the child’s other parent. This is a huge key in ending the conflict.
What is a “business-like acquaintanceship”? An acquaintance is the pharmacist, the waiter, or the person we just met at a party. In our interactions with these individuals, we each follow an implicit and explicit set of rules. When we speak to the pharmacist, we give her the prescription, and she fills it. The pharmacist presents us with a bill, and we pay it. Business associates do their business courteously and efficiently while maintaining a low emotional profile. They work to fulfill a common goal. No assumptions, formal courtesies, public meetings, written contracts, little confrontation, high personal privacy, and low personal disclosure are hallmarks of an acquaintance or business relationship.
Creating a business-like relationship with your ex-spouse will bring many benefits. First, it will place the emphasis back on the well-being of the children, which is the common goal. Second, it will afford you privacy. Communication will be limited to matters involving the children. For example, the child’s health, school performance, and the parenting time schedule are acceptable topics. Topics such as the dating habits of the other parent, past mistakes, and attacking differences in parenting styles are off-limits.
Third, establishing a business-like relationship with your ex-spouse will empower you. In a business-like relationship, the parties treat each other with courtesy and respect … no matter what. Even if they have to “fake it until they make it.” The “courtesy and respect rule” is empowering because no matter how the other parent behaves, your plan of action remains clear and unchanged. You don’t need to wait helplessly by, hoping the other parent will act like less of a jerk tomorrow than he or she was yesterday. Starting today, you take the lead in a positive way.
Adopting the “courtesy and respect rule” models positive social behavior for our children. Also, it offers an island of safety for your child. While the behavior of the other parent may remain frightening and unpredictable for the child, at least your child will have the comfort of knowing that when Mom and Dad are together, one parent will always remain in control and speak respectfully. One fool is better than two!
For a more detailed look at forming a business-like relationship with your co-parent, please
CLICK HERE TO ENROLL in the Texas Cooperative Parenting Course™.
The Texas Cooperative Parenting Course™; a parenting course online made for Texans, equips separating, divorced or never-married parents with skills to successfully co-parent children between 2 homes. It is the only parenting course online written by a Texas Domestic Relations Office and meets the requirements of Texas Family Code sec. 105.009. This 4-hour, 7-part course includes these topics: Parents, Children and the Courts; Positive Co-Parenting Practices; Child Development; Communication; Conflict Resolution; Anger Management; and Special Interest Topics (Family Violence/Spousal Abuse/ Child Abuse & Neglect and the Financial Responsibilities of Parenting). We look forward to hearing from you.
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