Mark Goulston, M.D.
Co-parent after divorce
Relationship expert, Mark Goulston, M.D., To successfully co-parent after divorce takes the commitment to work to put aside your differences, at least when it comes to raising your children. No matter how much ill-will you and your ex-spouse might have for each other, you both certainly can agree that you want your children to grow up to be the best they can. Don’t let your personal feelings affect your children’s upbringing. Set goals to prioritize your children. Calendar a time to discuss how best to raise your children after the divorce. Relationships come with expectations. Twoology.com helps couples fulfill their desires.
How do you resolve your issues with your ex-spouse so that are the best parents to your children? I offer divorce therapy. And what occurs in divorce therapy is always keeping the child’s best interest in mind.
What I do is very simple. I say to the parents, “Wouldn’t you agree that a child at the age 18, who entered the adult world with confidence, perseverance, a sense of humor, and that takes life seriously, but not themselves seriously, is a child that is much better suited to life than a child who whines, blames, quits, or who doesn’t even try?” All parents, of course, would agree that the first child has a much better chance of success. So, it’s at that point that I say to the parents, “I don’t care about your relationship, which is over. Anything that you have to tell me needs to be about your children. And anything that you say needs to be about what your approach is and how it will result in child A, as opposed to child B. Otherwise, I just don’t care to hear anything that you have to say.” It’s amazing how sobering that is, but it’s airtight. It eliminates a lot of the petty arguing and get’s parents to focus on how they’re going to work together.
So what you want to do with your ex-spouse is say how much you care about your children, what the best ways of showing that are, and what you can do to prepare them to have the best shot at life possible. What are the qualities that your children are going to need? What do you as parents need to do to ensure that they are instilled with those qualities of perseverance versus quitting, humor versus taking themselves too seriously, and taking responsibility versus blame?
And so, what I would suggest is that you involve your ex-spouse and say, “What is it that we need to do in our interactions together and with our children so that we get that result?” Knowing that you both want your children to be people who are going to live a healthy, happy life, can help you put aside your differences and work together for that one common goal.
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