A few weeks ago we discussed the challenges of interacting face-to-face with your ex after your divorce. For most parents in Fort Lauderdale, these interactions occur during their children's events. Negative feelings toward your ex can make the times when you have to be in the same room very difficult. The same negative feelings, however, can also influence the way you parent your children -- and you may not even realize it.
After a divorce, some parents instinctively turn toward reactive parenting. Reactive, or defensive, parenting usually involves making decisions out of anger or spite toward your ex. Maybe you're upset that your ex gets to spend extra time with the kids while coaching their soccer team, so you decide to become the primary helper with their science fair project. While it may seem harmless to want to keep things fair, making decisions based on your ex and not on your children can cause serious co-parenting problems.
To avoid ending up too far down that path, consider taking up proactive parenting instead. Instead of using up energy thinking about competing with your ex, try thinking first about the best interests of your children. They might love having you as a resource for homework and other projects, but if they're staying with your ex, they may need his or her help too. Making them feel bad about that because you want to be the one to help may not be the best way to maintain a good relationship with your kids or your ex.
There is always an adjustment period for parents after a divorce. With tensions high between you and your ex, it is easy to let those feelings seep into your parenting. By starting to think proactively, however, you can continue being a great parent after divorce.
Source: Huffington Post, "After Divorce: The Value of Proactive vs. Reactive Parenting," Rosalind Sedacca, Oct. 1, 2013