My ex made me so angry and I flew off the handle. I shouldn’t have said what I did. I know I shouldn’t have said it, too, and that makes me even more upset!

Sound familiar?

I’m human. You’re human. Emotions take over sometimes and we react with them instead of with our heads. It happens. In co-parenting, however, this is how arguments happen. It’s how arguments continue to happen. Like it or not, sometimes those arguments are our fault. And that really hurts to hear.

How do you positively co-parent when you’re human and have these (valid) emotions that sometimes take over?

First, acknowledge that you have them. Accept that you’re angry, frustrated, bitter, or resentful. No one would blame you for feeling that way, so why try to fight it? Really understand what that means for you, too. What do these emotions feel like in your body (e.g. fist clenching, heat rising, shoulders tensing, etc.)? What are your triggers? Is it every time your ex contacts you or only when they contact you about certain things?

Once you accept and understand your thoughts and feelings related to the divorce and co-parenting, put a plan in place. Anger comes with energy. How can you use that energy for good? Put a plan in place. Do you go for a walk, hit the gym, listen to music, read a book, build something, fix something, or even volunteer for something.

When you do say or do something that you later regret, apologize. Simply saying, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that” can go a long way in building a better co-parenting relationship. (Note: when dealing with narcissistic personalities, an apology will only create more drama, simply do what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again in those cases knowing that, if it does, it’s a moment of weakness.) Accept it for what it is, a mistake. Too quickly in negative co-parenting situations, we’re quick to blame - “WELL, IF YOU HADN’T…..” The key is knowing that your ex will do/say something that will irk you and that sometimes, despite your best efforts, you’ll do/say something that’s equally as irk-some. It’s time then to take ownership of YOUR role in it and change it. You can’t go backwards, you can only move forward.

Earlier in this post, I asked how you positively co-parent when you’re human, the answer is that it’s possible as long as you own your role in it.

Other co-parenting classes will tell you that you have to communicate this way, respond that way, but they aren’t telling you how - that’s what’s different about this class. Start here by understanding where you are and what you can do to manage it.

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Kaern Becker, MA Life Coach