Happy New Year everyone! I hope your 2011 was a year of wonderful blessings and new opportunities. Hopefully you took advantage of each and every one. If the year didn’t go as planned, don’t fret. You have a whole new year ahead of you.
Of course it’s healthy to look back over the past 365 days and think about what you did that worked for you and what
sucked the life you might have done differently. I took a class once from Margie Lawson: Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors. Through the class I learned what was holding me back and limiting my growth. I learned to make short and long term goals. I learned to envision my future and work toward it in a productive manner. (Note to my writing friends: This on-line class is starting today and only $30. A bargain for all the helpful advice you receive.)
When it comes to putting the past behind some of you parents though, you might need to seek professional help one on one. Some of you have had a more difficult time dealing with the ex and have had some pretty bad experiences. I understand that. There is nothing shameful about seeking help from a counselor/therapist or other professional. If it helps you — it helps your child. And that’s the important thing, right?
Starting in 2012, why not make it a goal to co-parent more effectively. Less fighting. Less stress. Less putting the children in the middle. Yes, I know you’re thinking, “But she (he) won’t <fill in the blank>.” You and I both know you can’t control the other person or make them do anything. You can; however, control what you do and how you respond to the other person. If you make changes, chances are it will improve the way the other person acts as well. Even if he/she continues to
be a horse’s butt behave in a spiteful manner, your child will experience less animosity and negativity when you refuse to participate in the same old harmful routines from the past.
It’s easy to get caught up in the pushing of buttons from the end of your relationship. After all, you know each other intimately and you know just what to say or do to set the other one off. You’ve gotten use to responding in a certain way. Ways that are probably not in your (or your child’s) best interests. It takes a deep commitment and concentration to move up and out of these ruts. But it can be done. You just have to wait before you respond. Think about how you would normally react and then find a better option. Choose not to get upset. Choose to let the anger go. Choose to ignore any insult. Choose to respond in a positive manner. Hard? Absolutely. But you and your child are both worth it.
The past is just that. The past. It can’t be undone. It can’t be changed. But you have today and you have the future. Do you want more of the same fighting, stress, and hurt in 2012? Or do you want to do your part to make things easier on your child? Once you stop re-acting in the same old ways and start finding positive ways to co-parent, you’ll find that you are a much happier person regardless of how your ex responds. Of course if you both make positive changes, think how wonderful it will be for all of you!
I hope you all have a happy, healthy and successful 2012! Here’s to active and healthy co-parenting!
Do you have plans to make co-parenting better this year? Have you and your ex made improvements over the past year? If so, share your secrets with us!
*NOTE: Here’s my typical disclaimer for these posts–I am not an attorney. These opinions are mine alone and are based on my years of experience working within the family court system. They are not meant as legal advice nor as representative of anyone else’s opinion. If you need legal advice (and I believe if you’re involved in child custody litigation, you really do), please consult with an attorney.