In their new book, Better Apart, yoga teacher Elena Brower and attorney Gabrielle Hartley share their tips on how to emerge from divorce stronger and more resilient than before. Here, they share their thoughts on co-parenting with patience, respect, clarity, peace, and forgiveness after you separate.

If you hit relationship problems, it can be hard to co-parent with the same level of consciousness you bring to your yogic practices. But there is a way to do it. Heres how.

For most humans, separation or divorce stirs up a steady stream of doubts, fears, insufficiencies, and rage. Days, months, and even years of unspoken worries and concerns begin surfacing, and the turmoil can seem insurmountable at first.

With regard to your parenting plan, its important to design an arrangement that prioritizes the physical and emotional needs of your children. When possible, always put them first. Heres how to think about creating a co-parenting plan through the lenses of patience, respect, clarity, peace, and forgiveness.

See also Elena Brower's Yoga Flow to Transform Tension into Forgiveness

How to co-parent with patience

In an ideal world, you and your ex will try to maintain continuity and consistency of rules and expectations between your homes, but over time, your two households will likely become more different than alike. Particularly after your children have had a chunk of time at your exs home, they may behave in new and unexpected ways.

Remember, your kids are managing divergent expectations in each house, and its your task to practice patience with them as they navigate two homes. Its also your task to be patient with your ex, with your exs significant other, and especially with yourself when potentially chaotic situations arise.

Patience affords you the pause in which to consider all angles. Patience also grants you the presence to respond only after you have calmed down. And when you disagree with the other parents style or decisions, please speak about it during a time when youre not heated, and definitely not in front of the kids. Practice being patient enough to note what needs to be addressed later, in a quiet, calm space, when you both have a chance to decompress and settle. Patience is like a muscle youre developing, and practice makes perfect.

Support your children through the transition period by giving them time to process the divorce.

How to co-parent with respect

Your childrens sense of who they are depends almost entirely on how you and your co-parent respect each other. Please be mindful of what you say about their other parent, because children and teens integrate what they hear into who they are. Negative words and actions directed to or about their other parent are destructive to children.

Model respect by demonstrating it to your ex and any extended family members who enter into your childrens world. Even when you are not feeling full of respect for them, you can be respectful of the situation and of their role as your childs parent. Stay calm and collected in the face of challenging interactions.

Ask fordont demandaccommodations in your parenting plan when these are necessary. If you are respectful of others, youre more likely to be treated the same way in return.

See also Beat Frustration (and Boost Patience!) with This Balancing Yoga Sequence

Respect also means not saying what you might be thinking in front of the kidsfor example, saying your childs stepmother is limited, unattractive, and/or boring. If there are any real concerns over other members of a blended familya stepsister appears to have a bad influence on your daughter, for exampletake it up with your ex gracefully, not in the presence of your children. If you cant resolve a serious problem to your mutual satisfaction, then it may be time to engage a parenting coordinator, your lawyer, or a mediator to begin to move forward. If necessary, revisit your lawyer and appear before a judge about changing your parenting plan.

How to co-parent with clarity

Your clearheaded assessment of your familys needs is essential in creating a parenting plan. Once youve created a well-structured flow for the children, you can begin to be flexible with each other and with your kids.

Most children will have feelings and thoughts about and reactions to the custody arrangement. Support your kids through this transition by validating their feelings and giving them ample space to process. Consider taking them to a therapist who specializes in working with children whose family is in transition. Create clarity with regard to the parenting plan by sharing the details of the schedule with your kids. Take the time to listen to what your children need and pay attention to what your ex says they need.

Always keep space open for your ex and your children to say more, by asking in the moment if there is more to say, more to discuss. By listening to them in an attentive, caring way, youre creating a template for them to do the same for you.

BETTER APART by Gabrielle Hartley and Elena Brower. 

How to co-parent with peace

Fashion a parenting plan that prioritizes peace, one that minimizes the potential for conflict in the future. Focus on your childs best interests instead of your own needs and desires. As youll see in a few years, when you meet the needs of your kids, theyll grow up well-adjusted and secure, which will help your family overall.

See also Yoga for Inner Peace: A Stress-Relieving Sequence + Daily Practice Challenge

Prioritize peace in your negotiations by verbally marking when you and your ex agree: Ive just noticed were in agreement on that! Your calm, peaceful resonance will open the door to kindness throughout the process. By maintaining this priority in your mind and heart, even when matters are less than peaceful, youll make things easier.

How to co-parent with forgiveness

Forgive yourself for having a hard time. Forgive yourself for not wanting to share your children. Forgive yourself for not giving your children the nuclear family you had imagined.

Forgive yourself for having to go to work and put your kids in child care. Forgive your ex as he/she struggles with time management. Forgive your exs mother, who has a temper that youre now seeing in your child. Forgive your own mother (or anyone else) when she cant stop lamenting your failure. And if youre thinking now about your own familys version of these examples, be sure to revisit your parenting plan to minimize conflict and facilitate forgiveness going forward. When you forgive, you open your heart to true, abiding compassion.

See also 5 Poses to Help You Reconnect With Your Partner After a Miscommunication

Source: Yoga Journal
Order by: 
Per page:
  • There are no comments yet
Related Feed Entries
B.K.S Iyengar or J.F.K? Yogic wisdom can inspire a class and a country. Being a yogi requires patience, perseverance, and passion. So does running a country. This Presidents Day, reflect on these 8 quotes from past Presidents that encourage people to challenge themselves.See also Ho…
Sports Yoga
6 days ago · From Yoga Journal
Dont miss one (or more!) of these healthy hot spots the next time youre in the big apple.Planning a visit to the big apple and want to know where to practice, eat, and play? This New York City travel guide for yogis has everything from non-toxic manicures to acupuncture.Looking to make your next tri…
Sports Yoga
8 days ago · From Yoga Journal
When was the last time you treated yourself as well as you treat everyone else?Flying solo this Valentines Day? Here are seven simple ways to show yourself some love, even if you dont have a significant other in your life to celebrate the holiday.I used to have a vision board in my living room with …
Sports Yoga
9 days ago · From Yoga Journal
Photographer and world traveler Francesco Mastalia trains his lens on four renowned yogis to reveal their inner light. Francesco Mastalia focuses his lens on world-renowned yogis to explore how the ancient practice has transformed their minds, bodies, and spirits. The resulting i…
Sports Yoga
10 days ago · From Yoga Journal
Learn how to transform your limiting beliefs into confidence with this meditation from Sarah Ezrin.Previous in Self-Love Series 5 Poses to Help You Stand in Your Own PowerSee all practices in Self-Love SeriesThere are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to self-love. One of those is mistaking…
Sports Yoga
10 days ago · From Yoga Journal
0 votes
02-10-2019 (14 days ago)
Sports Yoga
0 Subscribers