The relationship with your co-parent (yes, we said “relationship”) needs to be nurtured like any other relationship. You may be thinking, “NO WAY! This does NOT apply to me! The other parent of my child is the: scariest, worst, meanest, (fill in your favorite description) parent that ever existed!” Well, we would say, “Yes, it can and does apply to you!” There is hope! Even if only one of you does the work to improve co-parenting skills, there can be a positive change. But how can you change another person’s behavior when they are uncooperative, attack, and blame you? The answer is behavior modification. How you react and act towards another person creates an opportunity for changing their responses to you. Sometimes Co-Parenting Counseling in San Diego, CA, is needed to help the process along.
The Dizzying Merry-Go-Round
If someone sends a critical, inflammatory text to you and you retort with an equally upsetting response, they will send an even nastier message back, and so on… You have now jumped on the ride known as the Dizzying Merry-Go-Round. I don’t know about you, but those rides are no fun at all, and they don’t stop! And for all of you amusement park ride lovers out there, I’m not talking about that brief moment of excitement as you are spun around on a ride. No, I’m talking about a long-lasting, dizzying, feeling ill type of experience.
The Attack Isn’t About You
However, if you take that same critical text and respond calmly, countering with a brief factual response, the emotions do not have time to spin you around! You get to be in control of the situation and feel satisfied that you did not get as upset. Sounds great, right? You may think that won’t work with your co-parent. However, it can be because it is all in your approach. You have more control over your communications than you may think. You can choose to respond with compassion or you can choose to strike back.
It actually IS that simple; it’s just not that easy.
Like all new skills, it takes some practice. Co-Parenting Counseling in San Diego, CA can help you work through those skills and develop them!
As an experiment, think back to times that you exploded along with someone versus the times you remained calm and disengaged with them. Was there a difference in how it played out? Let’s say you really can control the way things turn out simply by how you react. Wouldn’t you want to walk away from these co-parenting interactions in a calmer state? It’s less dizzying, isn’t it?
When someone is criticizing you, it helps to understand that it may have nothing to do with you personally. This is where compassion and grace come in. Yes, it feels personal at the time, but if you step back and really look at what’s going on, your co-parent might be just having a bad day. Perhaps they are feeling insecure about themselves, and therefore feel threatened by your parenting style. They may even be afraid of losing their child to you. Understanding another person’s behavior and realizing it’s about them (not you) can go a long way in achieving peace.
Your Child’s Wellbeing and How Co-Parenting Counseling in San Diego, CA, can Help!
Can you guess who else would care about how you interact with a critical co-parent? Your child. No matter what age they are or whether they actually see you argue, they are aware of the tension.
The tension between co-parents can impact children in subtle and large ways when they know/feel that their parents are upset at each other. Research shows that children do better when their parents do not fight, whether they are in an intact family or separated.
Of course, you love your child and want them to be healthy and happy.
To do this, you need to decrease conflict in your co-parenting relationship. It is easier said than done, especially if the other parent criticizes you in court or ignores any form of communication to help parent your child. This is where we come in.
At Family Connections Therapy, we take a child-centered and positive parenting approach to help parents decrease conflict and increase positive communication skills. We do this by working with Bill Eddy’s New Ways for Families* concepts and material. So whether it is learning the Four Big Skills: Flexible Thinking, Managed Emotions, Moderate Behaviors, and Checking Yourself. Or how to create BIFF responses (Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm), you can gain the skills you need to stop that dizzying merry-go-round ride with your co-parent. Contact us today to book an appointment and learn more!
*Family Connections Therapy is not a division of High Conflict Institute™ nor New Ways for Families® but uses the name by permission.
Begin Co-Parenting Counseling in San Diego, CA
Our therapists can help you navigate the unique issues that co-parents may experience. We would be happy to offer support from our San Diego, CA-based practice and across the state via online therapy. You can start your therapy journey, by following these simple steps:
- Request an appointment by completing our form online or calling (858) 776-8804.
- Meet with a therapist from our team
- Start improving your mental state!
Other Services Offered With Family Connections Therapy
Our team understands you may deal with a variety of mental health concerns. This is why we are happy to offer a number of therapy services in addition to co-parenting counseling. Other mental health services include children’s therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, couples therapy, and reunification therapy. We offer services in person as well as online for your convenience. Some of our specialties include but are not limited to therapy for ADHD, LGBTQIA+, and depression, and our therapists are well-versed in play therapy as well as therapy for attachment and healthy development. Reach out now to learn more about our counseling services or visit our blog today!