After a divorce that involved children, although the idea may be dreadful, we are often placed in a position where we have to communicate with our former spouses and manage our behaviors in front of the kids. Because we encounter this scenario on a daily basis at our forensic psychology practice, we have come up with several tips to help improve your communication without worsening the situation:
Separate your feelings from your behaviors
It’s okay to be hurt and angry, but your feelings don’t have to dictate your behavior. Instead, let what’s best for your kids—you working cooperatively with the other parent—motivate your actions! This can be hard, so try keeping in mind these tips:
Get your feelings out somewhere else.
Never vent to your children! They shouldn’t be put in a position where they have to choose between you and your former spouse. Turn to friends and families, if they aren’t available look into getting a therapist. It’s okay to seek help from a professional, they’re neutral and can provide you with great suggestions. If you aren’t ready for a therapist, look into joint a gym or starting a exercise.
Focus on whats important: Your children.
If you’re feeling angry or resentful, remember why you need to stay composed and calm: your child’s best interests are at stake. If your anger feels overwhelming, take the time to breathe and cool down before reacting.
Keep your children out of the middle.
You may find it almost impossible to completely lose all of your resentment or bitterness about your break up, but what you can do is compartmentalize those feelings and remind yourself that they are your issues, not your child’s. Resolve to keep your issues with your ex away from your children.
Never use kids as messengers.
When you have your child tell the other parent something for you, it puts him or her in the center of your conflict. The goal is to keep your child out of your relationship issues, so call or email your ex yourself. If you ignore this tip, you are stealing your son or daughter’s childhood, something you can never give back.
Seek help when you need it.
Never say negative things about your ex to your children, or make them feel like they have to choose. Your child has a right to a relationship with his or her other parent that is free of your influence. When you start to feel that you need an outlet for your feelings, don’t feel afraid or embarassed to seek out professional help.
We really do realize that many of these tips are easier said than done. Please don’t hesitate to call if you feel overwhelmed with your current situation or find yourself unable to change your negative behaviors, despite numerous attempts. 561-429-2140
Also, if you have a quick question, please post it here and we promise to answer it! We would also love to hear the ways you have learned to stay strong after your divorce!! Taking a second to post your tips may make a huge difference to another parent looking for a little relief!
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