Sara Davison – also known as The Divorce Coach – is on a mission to help people thrive after separation and divorce. In this blog post, she shares her tips for establishing a productive co-parenting relationship
If you and your ex have children together, you’ll probably find yourself having more contact with them than you otherwise might want.
The guiding idea to take forward if you’re in a situation like this is called being Functionally Friendly. Functionally Friendly is the strategy you need to use when you have to deal with your ex as a single parent, but are struggling to do so in a calm and productive way. Being Functionally Friendly will allow you to interact with your ex in a way that’s best for your children and create the smoothest possible encounters between the two of you.
The strategy is simple: in any encounter with your ex, or when you’re talking with your children about your ex, you set aside any issues between the two of you and focus on your ex’s positive attributes.
Now, this doesn’t mean you forget about any problems you have experienced with them or your relationship. Nor does it mean that the two of you have to become good friends, or even that you have to forgive what’s happened. It’s simply about putting any issues to the side when you’re interacting with them or your children. This creates the foundation for a workable relationship, which is in the best interests of your children.
Shifting from parenting children together to parenting children by yourself can be a daunting transition. Whether you and your ex are sharing custody, or whether you’ll be doing all of the parenting moving forward, single parenting can be a challenge – especially in the beginning. Focus on these three positive truths:
- You now get to parent your children the way you choose, without anyone interfering while they’re with you.
- You get quality one-on-one time with your kids.
- Your children will inspire a strength in you that you never knew you had.
If you are sharing custody or co-parenting, there are some additional strategies for you to take on, to set yourself up for success and peace of mind:
- Have clear communication with your ex about access times – avoid any ambiguity or confusion.
- Don’t bad-mouth the other parent to your children.
- Always do right by your children, and wherever possible, prioritize their needs and well-being.
This advice sounds simple, but it can be very challenging to put into practice. If you can manage to implement the Functionally Friendly technique in your interactions with your ex it will improve your co-parenting relationship, reduce stress (because who needs more of that?), and have a positive impact on your children’s life too.
About Sara Davison
Sara Davison is a bestselling author and an award-winning authority on breakup and divorce, best known as ‘The Divorce Coach’. For a one to one coaching session with Sara or to book her online coaching course please visit: www.saradavison.com