Meeting in the middle
You asked us:
What can we do that will help us to get on now that we have split up, it feels impossible to pull off!
Here’s what Amity has to say:
Of course, we would agree that this is no easy task. No doubt a lot has been said, feelings have been hurt, confidence damaged. The hack here is to focus on the experience your child is having. Are they hearing you blame each other, talk badly about the other, are you using them to give the other messages?
Well that needs to stop. Parents who successfully co-parent are the ones who keep the focus on what it’s like for their child to be in the middle.
What might make it worse:
Keeping your child in the middle. Exposing them to your negative feelings about each other. Not noticing their pain, children grieve for the family unit they have lost. They need to be supported through this experience, not feel like they have to hide it for fear of upsetting one of you.
Insisting that all the things you perceive to be wrong with your parenting relationship are the other person’s fault. Not acknowledging your part in how you communicate and not being accountable for your actions… just criticising the other person.
Not keeping the needs of your child at the centre of all the decisions you make.
What might make it better:
Asking yourself all the time, am I doing what is best for my child here, or is my behaviour starting to become about wanting to be ‘the winning parent’, or to make my point against the other person. Try to think about each situation that pops up and how your child might be feeling, see things from their perspective.
Don’t make the other parent your target. Try to calmly explain your position and be prepared to listen to theirs even if you don’t like what you are hearing. Pick your battles, it’s not about point scoring, let the little things go sometimes, show you are able to be flexible and reasonable.
When things go down hill try to refocus both of you on what your child needs rather which one of you is right or wrong.