There are always times when you must make a choice in how you interact with your ex, when you share a child. In these times, you can choose restraint and take a higher road, when it comes to co-parenting, or you can let yourself be driven by your frustration with all of your ex’s traits that probably contributed to your split. The latter choice is never good for your children and it certainly isn’t good for you. Your ex is an ex most likely because he or she frustrated you and eventually made you angry to the point of no return.
So, when it comes to a parenting-related decision, a knee-jerk response, to the perpetually annoying behavior of your ex, is probably one you will regret more often than not.
Since any divorced parent can attest to how fast a, seemingly, minor issue can escalate into a maelstrom, here are some strategies to keep things calm, when you are faced with that choice, :
1. Step Away From the Ex:
Adhere to the “24-Hour Rule”; whatever needs to be said, barring an emergency, can be said when cooler heads prevail.
2. Get Off the Hamster Wheel:
Try something different from the usual, tired, dance that just doesn’t work. Think back to a time when you employed an approach to a parenting time problem that resulted in a smooth outcome. What did you do differently? See if that approach will work again.
3. Think of 3 Positive Traits About Your Ex as a Parent:
What are 3 things that you appreciate about your ex, that you find makes him or her a good parent. With those positive traits in mind, try sharing something positive with your ex about his or her parenting before, kindly, addressing the parenting matters at hand.
4. Approach Your Ex as an Ally
You both love your children, so why not share parenting time issues with your ex, as a collaborator, rather than “the enemy.” Share a few positive traits about your child before calmly explaining the problem and ask your co-parent for suggested resolutions. Do not interrupt. Listen. Truly take the time to hear his or her thoughts. When things are calm, ask your ex, in turn, to consider your proposed solutions. Then compromise, when possible.
5. Pick Your Battles
Not every irritation needs to result in World War III. If you can remain calm and learn to cope with the smaller issues that won’t cause any trouble in the long-run, then you can save your energy and focus for the issues that will truly have a lasting impact on your child.
6. Apologize When You Have Behaved Badly
Own your faults and take responsibility for times when you lost your temper. By showing humility, you pave the way for more peaceful and trusting co-parenting.