Finding Positive Feelings for a Co-Parent
Co-parenting can be a challenge, even for parents who are still happily married. Once your romantic relationship with your co-parent has ended, however, reaching a consensus on how to raise the children you share can feel impossible. Finding a way to coexist peacefully, even happily, with a co-parent will make the decades you spend raising children with them far more pleasant. Learn about why you should consider sharing positive feelings towards your ex and co-parent with your kids, and how to go about it, below.
Why should I say nice things about that jerk?
You know that saying, “fake it ‘til you make it”? Turns out, it’s true. Research shows that making an effort to say positive things about someone or something will result in you feeling positively toward that person. By speaking about your former partner in a positive light, you’ll help yourself to develop positive feelings toward your ex, which will make coexisting in a co-parenting relationship with them that much easier.
Speaking positively about your ex will also benefit your children. Encouraging positive talk about your co-parent will let your kids know that they can also speak positively about their other parent. This can help your kids feel more at ease with you, rather than feeling tense that they might say something about their other parent that could make you upset or angry. Plus, when kids are young, they identify with their parents. When you speak positively of their parent, it feels to your child like you’re offering validation to them, as well.
How to do it:
- Tell your children a story from a happier time about your co-parent. By telling your kids a story that paints your ex in a positive light, you’ll remind yourself of their more positive traits and give your kids a new reason to view their other parent in a positive light.
- Cultivate gratitude toward your ex. If you’re still in the midst of a custody battle with your ex, it can seem impossible to be thankful for them in any way, but research shows that cultivating gratitude reduces stress and engenders positive feelings that can improve your quality of life. It doesn’t have to be big; something modest like feeling grateful that, despite the battle, your co-parent is interested in being a part of your child’s life, or that they remembered the custody exchange schedule this time, can help improve your mindset.
- Forgive. Forgiveness is just as much a benefit for you as it is for the person being forgiven. Instead of letting resentment toward your ex take up valuable mental energy, give yourself the gift of forgiving and moving on.
If you need skilled, dedicated, and experienced legal help with a New Jersey divorce or family law matter, contact the Englewood family law attorneys at Herbert & Weiss for a consultation on your case, at 201-440-6300.