Or maybe not so happy?
Stressing over coparenting with your ex over the holidays? I have some tough love tips to share with you.
1. Review your court order
If you have had a high-conflict divorce, there is likely a holiday parenting schedule in your agreement or court order that has been pre-ordained. Drag it out from hiding and refer to it. Make sure your plans align with what it says. If your ex is difficult, it is probably not worth straying from the order. Just follow it without any drama. Simple decision.
2. Stop being offended
Don’t like how your ex behaves? Unless your kid is in danger I suggest you suck it up. Read this post: “So, you think your ex is a lousy parent?”
There is nothing wrong with anything he/she says or does until you have a thought about it.
Whatever anyone else says or does is just a neutral circumstance until you have a thought about it that gives it some electric charge. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example from one of my clients:
“My ex is took my kids to Thanksgiving dinner at his girlfriend’s parent’s house. It is so ridiculous, he barely knows her. What a jerk!
Even if you don’t say anything negative to your kids about this, I promise you that if you are feeling hostile about your ex, you will emanate that feeling and your kids will pick up on it. This will reduce the joy of your holiday time with your kids.
Remember, your ex taking your children somewhere is just a neutral circumstance that we have NO control over. But we can control how we think about it. Here are some alternate thoughts to “what a jerk”
yup, that is exactly how I would expect him to be
he is just being him
the kids were safe
nothing has gone wrong here
Your brain will send you all sorts of sentences (thoughts) that induce hostility. You can be the boss of your brain and decide not to make drama out of the stuff your ex does.
Do it for you, not for your ex. So that you can have a peaceful holiday. By osmosis your kids will feel peaceful and happy.
3. Stop feeling wronged
No one gets married and has kids with the expectation to get divorced. This doesn’t have to mean that life has “done the dirty” on you. Go ahead and believe that if you want, but it is all just your story.
Be careful how you tell your story to yourself and others. If it makes you feel victimized or unfairly treated, it may be time for an edit. Nothing has to change for you to do this.
If your ex is the villain, then you are playing the role of victim. Stop giving away your power to your ex. You get to be the hero of your story.
This journey is your little curriculum to learn how to think to create the results you want. Here’s one to try: Maybe you are exactly where you should be and so are your kids.
If you want a little brushing up on living a good life, despite divorce…despite coparenting with a toxic ex…despite your court order…despite trying finances, reach out for some coaching. Learn how to be the boss of your brain and deliberately think in a way that will inspire calm strength and help you show up as an awesome parent.