Article Categories Relationships Post-Divorce

"the Power Of One" - Positive Co-Parenting During & After Divorce

By: Cindy Harari, Esq.

Having a former spouse or co-parent who is not "on the same page" is one of many challenges during or after divorce. You can stay stuck in a place where you say: "he/she doesn't get it, will never get it, won't do it any other way" or take this time in your life as an opportunity to start doing things differently by shifting the focus to you.

When you say or do something, you cause a response or reaction. If you change the way you say or do things, you cause a change in the response or reaction of the people you are interacting with. I call it "the power of one. " Let's look at an example:

In the course of divorcing, two parents are alternating weekends with their 2 children, ages 7 and 9. On the weekend that the children are with Mom, the 7 year old has a soccer game at the same time that the 9 year old has been invited to a birthday party. Mom cannot be in 2 places at once and becomes anxious and frustrated. Of course the children feel it. Mom's vision, based on the dynamic that has evolved between the parents, is that "since it's not Dad's weekend, it's not his concern and I have to figure it out myself." This creates stress for Mom and both children, and, possibly, perpetuates a complete lack of awareness in Dad.

What if Mom put aside her pre-conceived ideas about what Dad's response might be and, even though it's not "his" weekend, asked him to participate with her to facilitate the children's activities on this day? It's a different approach. It's one person doing something differently and giving the other person the opportunity to do something differently in turn. It's the power of one.

Maybe the underlying issue is that Mom doesn't really want to share "her" weekend time with Dad. What's that about? Maybe Dad really has no interest in seeing the children other than during "his" scheduled time. That's something to look at too.

Time after time throughout the divorce process there are opportunities to make choices about how to approach issues that come up. If you have made the fundamental commitment to create a peaceful divorce, you will "talk the talk and walk the walk." Over time, you will make more decisions and take more actions to further your commitment to creating a peaceful divorce.

If you don't get the response you want to something you say or do from your former spouse or co-parent, don't give up! This is a process that takes time, patience and work. You have the power to be proactive, persistent, and consistent about what you do to create your peaceful divorce. That's the power of one.

Of course, no one can control what anyone else says or does in response to what you say or do. However, you may be surprised to find that as you say and do things differently, the dynamics of your relationship with your former spouse or co-parent begin to shift and your peaceful divorce will evolve. You and your children will feel the difference.

Are you interested in exploring how your personal "power of one" can change things? You do not have to do this work alone. Support is available from many sources including coaches, co-parent educators, online co-parent social networks, and local parenting groups.

Do you want to make the best possible child-focused decisions during and after your divorce? You have the power to do so.

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