Talking About Your Ex To Your Child

[The first step in Getting Started is always to Stop.  Stop doing, stop thinking, stop talking, and stop seeing what others are doing.  Literally sit down and breath in silence.  Once you feel the silence penetrating your chattering mind, make the intention that you want to keep the mind of a parent, while looking through your child’s heart.  And then with your child’s smile in mind, start asking yourself all of the questions that pertain to that issue. ]

This topic relates to Divorced Situation #26: Talking To Your Child: Positive comments about the other parent as found in The Pro-Child Way: Parenting with an Ex

1. How does the thought of “saying something nice about your ex” make you feel?  Does the idea of it make you tense?  Notice if your breath becomes shallow, your teeth clench, or your shoulders tighten.  After all of the conflict, the mere idea of saying something positive may be harder than you’ve let yourself acknowledge.  Without scolding yourself over this realization, just let yourself explore the possibility of “what if”.  “What if” you were to allow a positive thought about your ex come through?  To someone who has suffered terribly through a marriage and divorce, this requires great bravery.  Acknowledge that you are being brave in allowing the possibility of exploration and reassure yourself that you are safe.  Realize that in allowing a positive thought about your ex, you are not dismissing the real pain that may have been a part of your marriage.  The positive thought now is separate from that experience then.  Stay present with yourself until you feel ready to move forward in processing a positive thought about your ex.  You know you’re ready when your breath deepens and the tension in your body releases.

2. Think of your child.  How do you want your child to view his or her other parent?  If the little voice in your head is secretly hoping that your child sees the other parent as the villain, acknowledge that.  See that secret wish fulfilled as your child grows, envisioning their relationship far into the future and into your grandchildren’s future.  See what a life divided looks and feels like for your child and his/her other parent.  Allow yourself to see how this separation effects your child’s other relationships including the relationship with you.  Ask yourself if this is really what you wish for your child.  Again, don’t scold yourself for having the secret thought to begin with, but allow the full effect to wash over you and guide your choices.

3. Transition your future projection to one where your child is at peace with his/her other parent.  A future where your child accepts the wholeness of his/her parent and yet still sees them in love.  See how this perspective nurtures your child.  See your child not only smiling and at peace with the other parent but also expanding that love into all of his/her life situations.  See your child loving you for that opportunity.

4. In seeing this nurturing future, become committed to making it happen.  Release any attempts to block or hinder a positive relationship between your child and his/her parent.  With your knowledge in place that you are now safe, set your intentions on purposefully expressing positive comments to your child about the other parent.

5. Explore the possibility of positive comments.  Dig deep.  Think of serious and silly comments.  With each one, imagine a setting when you are alone with your child and you can drop the comment into conversation.  Collect as many comments as you can for your repertoire.  A rehearsed positive comment is better than none at all.

6. Imagine the setting of be being alone with your child and dropping in this positive comment about the other parent.  If the absurdity makes you laugh, then laugh.  If you imagine your child would think you’ve gone nuts because saying something nice about the other parent is so foreign in the house, then see yourself acknowledging this turn of your behavior with a grin.  Take note that even though it may feel initially awkward to express nice things about your ex to your child, you can do it.  Note too that in the safety of your own home, these positive words that you’ve selected and controlled are immensely powerful.  It’s like turning on the light in the closet to make the boogeyman disappear.

7. Give a huge sigh and smile as you open your eyes to the new Pro-Child Way that you just imagined for your child.  The conviction to create a positive environment for your child within your home - a home that welcomes the thought and mention of the other parent - will drive you to create it.  As each day arrives, remind yourself, “Today, I will say something positive about my child’s other parent.”  Envision the day’s events and moments of opportunity, congratulating yourself when you’ve accomplished your goal.

8. Someday, the experience of tightness and fear in doing this practice will transition into a memory.  Your child’s new normal, will be a household that you created where love - for all people -  can be expressed freely.

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