Parenting relationships (generally) start off positive – working together, supporting each other and the children – with the expectation that it will continue that way.
However, as difficult as it is, separation may occur. The hardest part of any separation can be the hurt, mistrust and outside factors that can influence how parents who once cared deeply for each other are able to maintain a workable and trusting co-parenting relationship post-separation. It is so easy to become disheartened, angry and grief-stricken and, rather than considering what is in the children’s best interests, a negative narrative starts.
What is a negative narrative? It can be something as simple as believing that every comment, reaction, text message or input of the other parent is against you or the co-parenting relationship. It can be a parent always expecting the other parent to do wrong by them personally or by the children. It could be thinking a new partner is disapproving of or undermining, your parenting of the children.
It is certainly fairly normal in the separation space to feel negative about the other parent – but we encourage you to consider the impact of a positive narrative in exchange for negative feelings, views and beliefs. Sure there are going to be times when you simply do not agree with what the other parent is doing, but imagine discussions about this starting in a positive way; generating constructive feelings about the situation, reducing the amount of negativity you feel after the communication, and increasing the other party’s ability and willingness to have a positive narrative with and about you.
Although it is a tough time for everyone during separation, try and make it as positive as possible – in the best interests of your children.