Behave Yourself – Your Children are Watching: Co-parenting with Your Ex

It’s common to feel anger, resentment and hurt towards your ex.

Your child’s happiness and sense of security, however, could be at stake unless you are able to successfully separate these negative feelings from how you behave in front of and towards your child.

Remember, children are like sponges.  They are constantly watching and absorbing what we do and how we relate to others.  This is where they begin to learn how to relate to the world and people around them.

Therefore, when your children are around, watch what you say, and how you say it.  Pay attention to how you treat others – and how you allow others to treat you.

The key is to stay intentionally focused on who you want to be in your role as parent.  A rule of thumb is to avoid speaking negatively about your ex in front of your children.  According to studies, children tend to identify with both parents.  That’s why when you talk negatively about the other parent, your child could learn to feel badly about himself.

That’s why it’s so important to develop behaviors to help you communicate effectively with your ex so that you can set a positive role model for your children as you build your own strength.  One tip is to set aside your own emotions to be fully present to what your ex is saying.  In other words, get out of your own way! Then you will be more likely to problem-solve with your ex instead of simply reacting emotionally.  The end result will ultimately be best for your children.

If you find it simply too difficult to communicate directly with your ex, consider consulting an experienced family therapist to help you develop the necessary skills.

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