Family, Heartbreak

Parenting With Your Ex: Is It Even Possible?

Co-Parenting Advice: Raising Your Kids With Your Ex

You're recently divorced with kids, so now what? What does your life look like co-parenting children from your ended marriage with and your ex? Is it what you imagined? Did you ever think how things would be?

If you're like me, you didn't even think about this because of all the emotions that were overwhelming you at the time. You probably just wanted to move on with your life. I want you to think about what you can do today to improve your relationship with your ex if only for the sake of your kids. Even though you are divorced, it's OK to talk to your ex. You both made a decision to split up, but that does not mean that you have to be enemies.

For the past three years, my ex-husband has been living outside the family home, yet he has always been welcome to spend time with our children any time he could. Sometimes, he'll cook them dinner, per my request, to off-set the cost of dining out. Not to mention, sometimes, when the children are busy with homework, it can be too disruptive to sit in a restaurant way uptown. 

In these past three years since he has been living uptown, the idea of Christmas came up. Christmas morning has always been more of the family tradition, so my ex shares Christmas morning and the entire day. In the past, as a family, we typically spent the day with my Italian family (he's Jewish so it was never a debate), but since our separation, I have refrained from travelling to my family's dinner and instead have had dinner with just the four of us, spending the day together.

My daughters, who are teenagers now, embrace this holiday that for many years was a tradition of childhood magic, but now a day that symbolizes buried hatchets and restructured relationships. It may take a few Christmas dinners to hash things out, but I believe that my ex and I (with our new significant others) and all of our kids will one day break bread together. Is that even possible? Wouldn't it be a great goal?

How is this done? By rising above the pain of what was a dysfunctional marriage. Equally, both ex-spouses need to take responsibility for what went wrong. State your regrets, apologize and forgive. We apologize for our behavior and forgive each other for the hurt and misunderstandings. Admit it was wrong and appreciate that you are both alive to be with your children and be in their lives and watch them grow up. The next step is put the past behind you, wish each other well and move on to what each feels is the next best thing.

The marriage is over and we need to raise our consciousness to a higher level not only for ourselves but for our children and to hopefully relate in a new way in a new loving relationship.