Often when couples with children separate or divorce they believe that their relationship is over. But, when children are involved the parents’ relationship is never over. It simply becomes a new relationship. The importance of this cannot be understated. So how do you renegotiate the new relationship with your ex and with as little stress as possible?

Emotions quite naturally run high and when they do we often lose focus on the real situation. It is useful to aim our focus on what we are trying to achieve for our children both in the short and long term. Children are the primary concern. They did not choose to separate or divorce, they are simply collateral damage. Usually they love both parents equally. Our anger and hurt need to take a back seat if we want our children to grow up with as little baggage as possible.

From my experience, three effective strategies are:

  1. Focus on your ex’s good points – he/she will have some – they are what might have attracted you to them in the first place! This may not be easy, however in the long term it can be vital to achieving a healthy functioning family.
  1. Make harmony your goal. When it is achieved it is likely that both time and money will be saved. Harmony enables us to negotiate both child and parental needs resulting in a win/win situation for all.
  1. Seek advice from legal and counselling professionals. Knowledge is power and if used for the good of the family unit can often make the difference between a healthy and balanced family or one that becomes dysfunctional.

Your ex is the mother/father of your children. Your children are a part of you both. How you handle this transition will likely be reflected on how your children handle relationship difficulties as adults.

Alexandra Roberts, Counsellor and psychotherapist can be reached on 02 9929 2977 or 0409 201 604 and has rooms in Berry St, North Sydney.