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Fortunately, there are ways to plan in advance, and set rules with your ex on holiday spending , to make sure everyone and their budgets makes it through the season relatively unscathed. As Dr.

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Holiday gifting should be no exception. So, before you buy something big, ask yourself why, and be honest. It should never be about outdoing your ex. As Robert E.

Emery Ph. This can send your kids the wrong message about the holidays. Instead, he recommended treating your co-parenting ex more like a business partner than someone with whom you had a personal relationship. Setting a budget for the holidays doesn't have to be a big deal, if you take the emotions out of the planning process. She may need counseling to help her establish clear boundaries and prevent any manipulation, especially if their child is watching.

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The healthier alternative, in this case, would be for mom and dad to sleep in their own homes and if all of you agree to spend the day together, start the day out early with a Christmas breakfast. However, I must caution you. If there is abuse of any sort or even the standard sarcastic animosity after a break-up, spending the day together is not a good choice and not in the best interest of the child.

Kathy refused to consider giving up one minute of her time with her son — until Sam offered her an extra night a week. All my son wanted to do was watch Monday Night Football with his dad.

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In order for him to do that I had to force his dad to trade for an extra Sunday night dinner? Who was this really about? I swallowed my pride and admitted to Sam that I was embarrassed by my behavior. From that day forward Sam's attitude toward me completely changed, and now he is far more open to compromise. Ex-etiquette dictates that parents must follow their custody agreement; however, the essence of good etiquette is consideration and politeness. Parents who are more concerned with preventing the other parent from spending additional time with the kids rather than weighing the positive outcome of the act are being selfish and maybe even abusive.

The essence of "put the children first" means parents must put their children's needs ahead of their own. Some divorced parents do not want to cooperate with an ex. They block communication and schedule things around their "own" family, which consists of "the kids" and their new spouse. A parent who takes this approach to parenting after divorce is actually in denial. He is trying to remake his new life to fit into the conventional family mold.

But he's forgetting one thing — they aren't a conventional family. If your ex is being uncooperative, you can do one of two things — you can buy into his behavior and compete on the same level, or you can look for a new solution. Many exes realize that change is necessary but don't know how to break out of the old patterns of communication. They continue to do the same old things and then state loudly, "I've done all I can do!

She is an idiot! It's hard work to get along with someone you despise. Find consolation in the fact that you are not doing it for yourself. You are doing it for the people you love the most — your kids. I'm not suggesting that you block a bullet, which many parents say they would do to save their children. I'm suggesting that you cooperate with your child's other parent after divorce.

There are three behaviors that lead you to this end. Breaking an old pattern of communication is not easy. So much of it is mental preparation. What you think about your ex — and the thoughts you run over and over in your mind before you meet — has an effect on your actions when you finally interact. In the psychological community this is referred to as a conditioned response based on past experiences.

Examining where and why the term conditioned response originated may be helpful.

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Ivan Pavlov was a Russian scientist of the early twentieth century. He made a number of important discoveries in the realm of physiology, particularly related to digestion; however, he is best remembered for an experiment in which he "conditioned" dogs to initiate a salivary response to the sound of a bell. Pavlov began his experiment by measuring the amount of salivation the dogs produced when responding to food. As the experiments continued, he rang a bell at the same time he presented the food. Again, he noted a salivary response. Over time, Pavlov observed the same salivation response when he rang the bell, whether he presented the dogs with food or not.


Ex-Etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After a Divorce or Separation

The dogs equated the sound of the bell with getting ready to eat. Pavlov defined this as conditioned response. In some ways anger against an ex is a conditioned response. If your thoughts conjure up feelings of anger and resentment, you are not likely to want to cooperate. If you can change your thinking process, you can change your behavior and break old patterns of communication.

Here's a perfect example of how thought processes affect a person's behavior — and what that person must do to break the cycle. It's a personal story, one I have used many times while teaching stepfamily seminars.

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My husband and I were married for six months, and during that time Sharyl and I were not the best of friends. Every morning I would sit in front of my makeup mirror, and as I put on my makeup I'd rehearse exactly what I was going to tell her the next time she did something that made me angry.

Ex-etiquette: It’s not about you, it’s about raising a child – Twin Cities

As I put on my foundation, I was a little miffed. As I progressed to the blusher, I was angrier still. By the time I was adding the finishing touches with my mascara, I was livid — and I hadn't said a thing to anyone! This went on day after day. I thought I was keeping it all inside. I didn't think anyone knew how angry I was until one day my husband timidly tiptoed around the corner of the bathroom.