At the time of divorce, all members of the family are often hurting badly. There may be many disagreements and much bad feelings between the parents. But there is one critical shred challenge: how to protect the kids from the well-documented harm they will suffer from parental conflict. And, studies show that by focusing on their kids’ needs, divorcing parents actually recover from the hurt of divorce more quickly.
It can be very hard to separate the role our spouse has played as partner, from the role we will continue to share as co-parents. Here are some ideas to help “shift” our thinking in a way that will support cooperation to meet the kids’ needs.
- Maybe this isn’t a competition between us, but instead the ultimate call to cooperation for our children’s sake.
- Maybe our issues aren’t so much legal as personal, emotional, and parental.
- Maybe our love for our children will be a better guide for us than our legal rights or litigation.
- Maybe we have been so consumed with our own hurts and fears that we have not been able to see our children’s real needs very clearly.
- Maybe our children are suffering as a result of our conflict – and in ways that we haven’t noticed.
- Regardless of what they might say, maybe our children really want and need a restrained, predictable, and cooperative relationship between their parents.
- Instead of being threatened by my children’s good relationship with their other parent, maybe I actually have a vital interest in supporting those relationships.
- Maybe my failure to acknowledge and deal with my grief has helped drive our conflict.
- Maybe we can only succeed by partnering to protect our children.
- Maybe our children require us to have even better communication and cooperation now that we’re separated.
- Maybe there are a few specific skills I can master to protect my children and myself.
- Maybe my co-parent’s slips are reason for me to be heroically restrained, not to add conflict.
- Maybe activities as basic as admiring and enjoying my children can help me succeed.
- Maybe there are specific things I can do, regardless of what my co-parent does.
- Maybe the failure of our intimate/marital relationship is no reason for us to fail in a co-parenting relationship.