- Talk to your kids about what’s happening with their parents.
- Talk to your spouse about what’s happening with your kids.
- How do you feel about what’s happening? What do you think it means?
- Accept the inevitability of change.
- Listen, process and respect all that comes from this new situation in your family.
- Let go of thoughts and feelings that aren’t helpful and embrace those that can help.
- Is there some tension in the family, or are you just in a bad mood?
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Are you feeling that your co-parenting situation is becoming a burden? Are you struggling to communicate with your ex-spouse and children? Is this affecting the ability of everyone to live peacefully in the same home? It might be time for some help. A good counsellor can help guide you through these tough times and help develop a healthy relationship between all parties involved.
Talk to your kids about what’s happening with their parents.
Discuss the situation with your child, and tell them you are there for them. Encourage them to express their feelings about what is happening. The best way to do this is by asking questions such as “How do you feel about your parents separating?” or “What do you think will happen?”
Letting children know it’s okay not to have all the answers can help them feel more comfortable talking about what they’re going through. If they don’t have any strong feelings regarding their parents’ separation, ask them whether they would like more information on what might be ahead and how it might affect their lives.
Talk to your spouse about what’s happening with your kids.
Talking to your spouse about what’s happening with your kids can be one of your hardest things. It can also be one of the most important possibilities in your life. As a co-parent, you need to remember that you are not alone—you have a partner who is going through this too, and they may not know how to handle it or talk about it.
You both need to talk about what’s happening with your kids: What do you want for them? How will each of your work out? How does each of us feel about it? Do we share any ideas on how we might get there together? What can we do now so that when these situations arise in the future (and they likely will), we don’t end up fighting over something that could have been avoided by talking with our spouse about the situation earlier on instead of reactively responding without consideration for their feelings or needs as well as yours?
How do you feel about what’s happening? What do you think it means?
Co-parenting counselling is where you can discuss your feelings and concerns regarding the separation or divorce of your ex-partner. You may have many questions or need clarification about what to do next. You may be angry, sad or anxious. The counsellor will help you explore the following areas:
- What happened?
- How do I feel about it?
- What does this mean for me now?
Accept the inevitability of change.
Acceptance is a key step in the grieving process and is not the same as resignation or giving up. Acceptance is a deep understanding that things have changed forever. Everyone goes through periods of feeling stuck, angry, lost and confused when experiencing change—it’s normal to feel this way!
To accept change:
Be aware of your thoughts and feelings about the changes you are experiencing. For example, if your relationship with your ex has become strained over time because of their new partner or distance from home, try writing down some specific thoughts or feelings about this situation (e.g., “I feel sad,” “I miss my children.”) Make sure that these are true reflections of how you feel; if not then adjust accordingly until they accurately represent what’s going on for you internally.”
Listen, process and respect all that comes from this new situation in your family.
Listen, process and respect all that comes from this new situation in your family. Your children are trying to understand what’s happened, so allow them the time to do so. Be sure also to listen to their feelings about your new relationship.
Be respectful of your spouse’s feelings and their new partner’s; avoid judging or minimizing them. It can be tempting at first for both parents to see each other as the enemy, but remember that there is no such thing as an “other” parent—they’re just different kinds of parents now!
Let go of thoughts and feelings that aren’t helpful and embrace those that can help.
It’s important to let go of thoughts and feelings that aren’t helpful and embrace those that can help. Remember that you are not alone in this struggle. And lastly: be honest with yourself about your feelings. If you find yourself feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, reach out for help from a trusted friend or family member or seek professional assistance from a counsellor who specializes in co-parenting counselling.
Is there some tension in the family, or are you just in a bad mood?
If you are worried about your kids, asking for help is okay. A professional counsellor can help you sort out what’s going on and how find solutions that work for everyone.
You may also need an outlet, which is good! It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you; it just means that change is tough, and talking things through can help us regain our bearings. If this applies to you or someone close to you, see our list of resources below or visit your local community centre or library for more information on counselling services in your area.
If there’s tension between parents, work together as a team to resolve it—and don’t forget that both parents have an equal say in their child(ren)’s lives! As much as possible, try not to let things build up so much steam before speaking out about them; this will keep everyone happier in the long run when conflicts arise (and they will).
Ultimately, what’s most important is finding a good way to co-parent with your ex-spouse. You will be able to do this if both of you are committed to doing it healthily and if you’re willing to accept that some things will change due to this new situation in your family. You’ll also need patience and understanding with each other so that you can work through any problems together without letting them affect your kids.
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