In the last part of this four part series of blogs we’re continuing our focus on how your family will change as a result of separation. In the first blog we invited you to notice the little changes that you may perhaps have not appreciated the significance of and to be alert to them. In the second blog we invited you to think about a vision for what you want your post separation life to be like. To fill this up and make it about both of you and your children rather than waiting to see what happened, and then trying to make the best of things. In the third blog we talked about the practical arrangements you can make to help make your big vision a practical reality for both of you and your children.
In this blog we’re talking about what you need from each other to make this work, and what your children need from you. This is an important part of the puzzle. You can make the best arrangements but if you’re not supporting each other as you need to then you may be storing up problems. We recommend this video on co-parenting as it talks about how to be the metaphorical hands around each other when the children are with the other parent.
It can be useful to explore what you each need from the other to best co-parent. This can be a difficult conversation and it can help to be mindful of your words. It may also be useful to look at these blogs on pressing each other’s buttons and on finding a compromise. It’s not easy to tell someone that what they’re doing is inflaming a situation, and it’s not easy to hear that your own behaviour could be improved. Sometimes re-framing this away from what’s “wrong” and what’s “right” to what is “helpful” and “not helpful” for each parent can help. It’s purely about understanding what you each need from the other. Look at it as each providing the other with a shopping list. Your role is not to judge the content, decide on what meals it would be helpful for the other person to make with the shopping. Your job is purely to provide what is on the list. You might think it’s helpful for you to micro manage packing the children’s bag but if the other parent tells you it isn’t helpful and confirms they will ensure the children have everything they need, then back off and trust that you each understand what each other need in that situation. You need your children to have the right stuff, and the other parent needs to not have 23 what’s app messages about school uniform, coats and shoes.
New partners for either parent can often be a catalyst for a bump in a good relationship so talking about what you would each like from the other if you meet a new partner can be useful so you have clear expectations. Setting ground rules on how and when they might be introduced to your children can help you both to be mindful of what each other need before a situation arises. This can apply to other issues that crop up too. Knowing what will help each other in a situation before it crops up can give you a useful blueprint to use.
What you each need may change over time, and particularly as you feel you are both moving on and feeling more positive about the separation. Being able to have an ongoing dialogue about what’s working and what isn’t working will be of huge benefit to both of you going forwards and put you in the best possible place to deal with the changes your family is going through as a result of the separation.
If you’d like more information about mediation then please contact us. You can also sign up to our free mailing list, or access our free community of support via the closed Soulful Separation support Facebook group.