(Editor’s note: Please welcome DeeAn with some wisdom for divorced/separated parents. Thanks DeeAn!)
Whether you and your ex-spouse get along or do not, you must find a way to keep a smile on your face when sharing your children’s visitation hours, for your own good along with your kids’. You don’t have to be friends with your ex; however, there are some simple rules to keep the peace when continuing on in your new life direction without your ex.
1. Don’t let him/her anger you. Stop an argument before it starts by being proactive in positive conversation and relate it only to the kids.
2. Do not ask personal questions about your ex’s current life status as it may only confuse or hurt you.
3. As far as the children are concerned, make an effort to be good co-parents and do not use them as weapons against each other.
4. Be polite to each other. Try not to throw any figurative jabs at your ex.
5. Don’t let the kids know or sense of the frustration you feel. They have emotions about the split and having to worry about their mom or dad, even more than they already do, isn’t fair to them. Save the frustration for a friend.
6. Create clear parameters of visitation rights. This way, there is no misunderstanding or need for argument. If you can each follow the guidelines of the shared visitation hours, the peace has already begun.
7. Ask for what you want when developing boundaries of visitation.
8. Try your very best to not get defensive when discussing, well…anything. There is no need. The divorce has happened and you need to get on with your life. Don’t waste your time defending yourself for no reason.
Simply, communicate your expectations. Oftentimes, the relationship is the conversation.
Keeping the peace with your ex helps keep the peace within yourself. And that is what you must find to move on to new relationships. If you can find your inner peace, you can accept and respond to any obstacle or challenge that presents itself to you.
DeeAn Gillespie has been practicing family law in Arizona since 1985 and is the founding partner of Gillespie, Shields & Durrant. She and her team of Phoenix divorce attorneys can handle any case, no matter how complicated or private.
Photo provided courtesy of Ed Yourdon via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.
Earnest Parenting: helping parents manage difficult visitation.