It doesn’t matter if your ex is a narcissist, if they refuse to communicate, or if they constantly attack you - what matters is you. Are you a positive co-parent? Are you modeling behavior you’d want your children to take on. If you’re reading this, it means you want to be a positive co-parent even when it’s difficult.

What do positive co-parents do differently?

  1. Positive co-parents manage the frustration they feel outside of communication with their ex. Notice that I did not say positive co-parents don’t have frustrating moments. All co-parents will have moments where they feel like they’re beating their heads against a wall. Positive co-parents handle it before communicating with their ex. They aren’t letting frustration fuel the communication.

  2. Positive co-parents do not engage in the angry cycle. I talk about the angry cycle in the co-parenting course. Positive co-parents recognize when it’s happening and jump off before they’re sucked in. They do not let attacks, lack of communication, or miscommunication suck them into a cycle that goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing.

  3. Positive co-parents are present with their children. Too many co-parents get caught up in worrying about, wondering about, or getting frustrated with what their co-parent is doing. I get it. It’s easy to do, especially when your children come home and tell you about it. Positive co-parents understand that every minute spent thinking about their ex is 60 seconds lost with their children. Positive co-parents can snap out of their own heads so they’re better able to focus on what’s most important - time with the kids.

  4. Positive co-parents model effective communication. Communication is the #1 most important tool in co-parenting. Positive co-parents balance respecting their co-parent’s boundaries with modeling positive communication as it should be.

  5. Positive co-parents give the benefit of the doubt. For many co-parents, even the positive co-parents, this is the hardest thing to do. These positive co-parents understand how harmful it is to the co-parenting relationship for one ex to assume the worst in the other (even if all signs point to the worst being factual). These positive co-parents refuse to assume the worst until they learn more and they communicate effectively to learn more.

  6. Positive co-parents forgive the past. Again, this is incredibly difficult. Positive co-parents understand that rehashing what’s already done will result in going nowhere. Positive co-parents understand that they may have to make peace even when there are no apologies. Positive co-parents understand that the future matters more than the past.

How did you stack up? Do you feel like you have been positively co-parenting or do you have some work to do? It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or where you are - all that matters is where you’re going. Each of these steps can help build a positive relationship, even when your ex doesn’t want one.

Comment below with any ways missed!

If you're like most co-parents, you could easily knock a couple of those items off of the list, but not all of them. If you have yet to forgive the past. If you have a hard time giving the benefit of the doubt because your ex is just that bad. If you try to communicate, but it's not going anywhere - there's a different way. The Co-Parenting Book is available for instant download and can give you all the tips and tools talked about in the course. Download it today. 

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Kaern Becker, MA Life Coach