Written by Betsy Ross, LICSW:
Divorcing and divorced parents who work toward improving their relationship, can become free from the past faster and create a more stable, productive and enjoyable home life in which to raise healthier and happier children.
Parents who are unable to stop fighting either openly (through yelling, door slamming, name calling, etc) or ‘under wraps’ (with passive aggressive behaviors such as repeatedly arriving late, breaking agreements, ‘forgetting’ promises, etc.) contribute to making everyday life stressful, unhealthy, and chaotic. Frequent fighting, tension, and conflict is bad for everyone, especially for kids.
It Always Takes Two to Fight
One simply cannot fight the good fight alone. Surprisingly enough, whether stated (“I’ll never cooperate with you”) or implied, continued fighting involves an unconscious agreement between BOTH parents to stay deeply connected and involved with each other. Conflict can keep couples in the familiar territory of the old (and dysfunctional) ways rather than advance into the frightening land of the new and the unknown.
It Only Takes One to Change the Relationship
While indeed difficult to accomplish, by outright refusing to fight and standing strong in the conviction to be and act differently (even when feeling provoked or baited by the others terrible words or behaviors) one parent can single-handedly bring about slow and steady change. When both co-parents commit to this process, the benefits of better relating: Decreased stress, improved mental and physical health, and a brighter outlook toward the future, can be more quickly achieved and enjoyed by all.
Good Help Is Available
Moving beyond the old dysfunctional ways of relating to create a new, stable and more peaceful environment takes determination, hard work, and the development of new skills. It demands a willingness to look within to examine one’s own behavior and motivation, and the courage to take responsibility for increased self-control and decreased retribution-seeking behaviors in the future. Luckily, these days there are a variety of experienced and supportive divorce/mental health specialists available to provide guidance and assistance in this endeavor. Divorce and co-parent coaching utilizes proven tools and techniques, tailor made to meet the needs of each family, couple, or individual seeking these.
You, too, can take part in creating a brighter future for your children and enable them to develop themselves in a more healthful and happy environment during and post-divorce. Building a better co-parenting relationship will provide endless payoffs for you and for your children to learn, grow, and thrive in. It is among the greatest gifts you can give to your family and to yourself, both during and after your divorce.
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