Part 1 – A situation going badly
You've just seen a situation going badly. These are the ways in which Ellie and Jake were put in the middle.
Judge - when you criticise or blame your ex in front of your children, they may feel confused. Children cannot be expected to judge who is right and who is wrong – they don’t like having to choose and shouldn’t have to stick up for either of you.
Witness - seeing or hearing conflict between parents is very stressful for children. They may worry that if you can stop loving each other, you might stop loving them too.
Reward and punishment - spending time with either parent should never be treated as a reward or punishment. As long it’s safe, children do better when they continue to have a relationship with both parents.
Even if you’re good at the skills in STOP and TALK IT OUT, there may still be times when you disagree with your child's other parent. To help you find a solution you are both happy with, try the final skills in this step, WORK IT OUT.
To negotiate well, you’ll need to put your thoughts across clearly, set aside strong emotions, and be willing to compromise. All the skills you've learned so far can come into play as you seek an agreement.
Working it out
You can work it out by deciding on solutions to problems together. You need to be able to explore possible solutions, agree to try one out and be prepared to see how it works. You may later need to make changes and agree to try something else.
Now watch the next clip to see how parents use these skills to make the discussion go better for them and for their child.