Monday, February 05, 2007

Maintaining a Positive Relationship with Your Ex

Unfortunately, the statistics for divorce are high. If you are divorced, or in the process of getting one, the people most affected are your children. The importance of keeping a positive relationship with your ex, and how single parents’ attitudes towards one another affect the children should be of utmost concern. Here are some tips to help you cope.

Never use the children as pawns in your battle
Keep your relationship as positive as possible when dealing with the divorce proceedings. If joint custody is awarded, never talk unkindly about your spouse. Never ask questions about any activities your spouse may be involved in. Putting your children in the middle will only cause them more emotional pain. Remember, they are trying to understand why this happened, but more importantly need to be reassured it’s not their fault.

Keep the negative thoughts to yourself
Don't whine around the children or talk about your spouse begrudgingly to your friends. You are more than likely having negative thoughts and feelings. If you need an outlet, join a support group (like a divorce recovery workshop at your church) or seek help from a counselor.

Keep the lines of communication open...
with your kids and your ex. Keeping a dialogue open with the children will show them that you aren't hiding anything and help to reassure them they are loved by both parents and that the break-up has absolutely nothing to do with them. Be as honest and open as you can - AND GIVE THEM AGE-APPROPRIATE ANSWERS! They will no doubt have a lot of questions - just be there for them. Keep an open and positive communication line open with your ex as well. Remember, it's not about YOU...it's about THE KIDS!

Give them time
You may notice some acting out or inward reflection by your children. This is their way of dealing with the situation. Give them time; don’t push it. If they need you, they will come. There are usually great resources to help your kids in their school system. Ours had a nice group session with the counselor called "divorced kids" in the elementary school. Both of our kids really opened up in this group setting.

Give yourself some time
Give yourself a break, too. You are certainly under a lot of stress. Adding guilt to the mix will not help either you or your children. Take it one day at a time. Rid yourself of undue pressure. It’s hard, but definitely necessary. If the children need you for any reason and you are unable to cope or help, you’ll cause more harm.

Keep as positive an outlook as you can. While some divorces can be messy, you do have some control over the situation. Remember, what you do directly affects your children. Use caution.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Although I am not married yet, but I loved your suggestions. They are very practical suggestions.

Thanks for the information.
Carol