Co-parenting is not a new concept – it’s really a new terminology. Think about it: a happily married couple that is equally involved and cooperative in the parenting of their children practice co-parenting on a daily basis. The absolute essence of co- parenting simply means that the parents are both involved in the day to day decision making attendant to being good parents.
Prior to divorce both parents were parenting their children, now divorced the parenting part must stay the same. Life is too short to suffer through constant stress and anger. Childhood is even shorter still. And if you are living under stress with your co-parent, so are your children.
It becomes complicated when revenge, frustrations, anger and bitterness gets in the way when co-parenting with your ex. Co-parenting after divorce, there will always be disagreements and misunderstandings. Your approach to these interactions cannot be anchored in the past. You must see the bigger picture so you can focus on your child’s needs and their best interests more than your dislike or distrust of the other parent.
But that’s easier said than done.
So… why do we hold on to experiences that cause us so much pain? Why is it so hard to just… let it go? To shift your emotional focus?
There are two main reasons:
Continuous pain means continuous hurt for yourself and the people around you. It changes who you are as a person and that gets passed onto your children and the entire family. And yet, there can be comfort in pain. When it’s familiar. It’s frightening to step into the unknown and be vulnerable. Fear messes with your emotions. And so, many people hold onto the painful pasts because familiar feels better than fear.
The fact is, you were hurt! Hurtful things were said and done.
As humans, we tie our emotions to facts. Hanging onto old words and actions drives our emotions and, if we let them, emotions drive our now and future words and actions.
Ex-partners have a tendency to bring up, again and again, the pain that was caused. Even in simple interactions, the past can be dredged up through heavy sarcasm and disrespectful attitudes, making the other person feel less than, or that what they say has no value. This makes it impossible to ease or “win” the situation, and ultimately ends up hurting your precious children.
So what can you do about it? How do you let go and shift your emotional focus away from the past so you can move forward for a healthy and harmonious co-parenting lifestyle?
Here are 6 steps to take:
- Determine how your life and overall mood will change by shifting your focus away from the past and towards living in the now. How will letting go change the course of your co-parenting relationship and your bond with your children? How will you feel in your day-to-day life? How will it feel to no longer waste energy on what’s past? How will you feel physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally by not letting the past haunt you? Believing and seeing it in your mind is the first step to creating it.
- Focus on your motivation. What is your motivation for letting go and creating harmony in your co-parenting arrangement? Use that motivation to guide you in focusing on what truly matters, not the past. Use it to give you a strong enough drive to make your life and your child’s more fulfilling.
- Change your emotional habits and stop allowing yourself to wallow in the past. This will have a profound influence on the way you look at life, carry yourself, speak and, of course, the way you act with your ex-spouse and your children.
- Shift your mindset and beliefs about co-parenting in harmony. Condition yourself toward a more positive attitude to co-parenting in harmony. Train yourself to see the good, not what isn’t working in your co-parenting relationship. Train yourself to feel passionate about your child. Become a dynamic communicator, it can inspire and motivate your former-spouse to do the same. Be the role model you always dreamed to be for your child.
- Feed yourself with empowering stories and positive habits every day that focus on what is good in your co-parenting relationship.Every day, nourish your mind with fresh ideas. This will generate momentum that will help you focus on the now and the future, not the past, and will lead to great change for outstanding outcomes.
- Live for your family. It’s so precious and you have so much good to offer to your children. Remember to take time along the way to have fun. By making your family your focus, your purpose and meaning in life will bring you to the next level and will improve and empower your co-parenting arrangement for outstanding outcomes.
In my experience, I recognized that it was not serving me or my family to hold onto the past. I decided that my life was important enough to allow myself to let go of the past, shift my emotional focus and move forward in co-parenting to have a harmonious family life and an outstanding blended family.
Focusing on my bonus son’s needs was the best motivator to do more than I thought I was capable of. I became a more loving, nurturing person and was able to see clearly and create solutions to problems. The rewards are more than worth it. For you and your precious children.
Your life matters and your co-parenting relationship matters too.
Anna Giannone: Certified Master Coach – CoParenting