Do you still define your ex in terms of your failed relationship, or do you relate to him/her strictly as "the other parent"?

How you frame your perception of your former spouse has a tremendous impact on your co-parenting relationship. The two of you may not be friends, but you’ll always be your children’s
parents. Defining one another in terms of your own past relationship often brings up negative feelings of disappointment, resentment and anger. It’s no wonder that you forget to treat each other as co-parents and instead see each other as a reminder of your failed past.

When you are able to turn the page on that chapter of your life, you will be free to define a new relationship with your former spouse. Building a new relationship as co-parents begins and ends with the children you share and everything in between is about them. Once you can make that shift, your image of him/her will no longer be a reflection of past wrongs, but rather, your shared hope for the future of your children.

Easier said than done, right?

If you think about it, you maintain workable, respectful relationships with a number of people that you don’t necessarily like. Perhaps authority figures, like a boss, or a member of your own family. If you can make allowances for other people in your life, you can make allowances for
your child’s other parent, too. The point is that your co-parent is here to stay.

Imagine for a moment that you were single and you couldn’t have children. Then one day, you decided to adopt and reluctantly agreed to an open adoption. You were so grateful to this other
person for bringing this child into your life. You didn’t always get along well, but if it weren’t for this person, you wouldn’t have your child, so you make it work.

The only difference between this scenario and yours is the emotional baggage between ex-partners. That’s natural but it may be standing in the way of your desire to be the best parent you can possibly be. Reframing your perspective as co-parents is the first step toward the universal goal of raising happy, healthy, well- adjusted children.

© 2009 Blackwell Family Resources, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Author's Bio: 

Blackwell Family Resources LLC is a coaching firm that specializes in blended and divorced families. Their coaches help divorced and remarried parents modify their expectations and help their children adapt to the new family configuration. Our coaches listen to parents without judgment, respect their values and help them develop their own solutions.

Angie Blackwell, Founder, earned her coaching certificate through the International Coach Academy and is a member of the International Coach Federation. She has a Bachelor's degree in Public Policy, an Associate's degree in Early Childhood Education and a Certificate as a Family Life Educator. Her specialized training includes Family Dynamics, Effective Parenting and Mediation. She has been a mother for 25 years, a step-mother for ten and a grandmother for four. Find her on the web at blackwellfamilyresources.com.