Why do we question? What is it that ignites our curiosity?
Our children are question experts. They want to know about the sky and that stars. Isn’t it true that our children wonder about everything?
“Why is it like this? Who made it like that? What are we doing next?” these kinds of questions are all open-ended.
They can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. They require thought to formulate a full answer. Too often we ignore the questions of our children or shrug them off. Maybe it’s the massive volume of things that are being asked of us or just learned complacency.
Whatever it is, we need to pause and pay attention. We have a lot to learn.
During a family breakdown, there are questions. Your children have questions and so do you. You might be wondering, “How did it come to this, who’s fault is this anyhow? What am I going to do next?”
It’s easy when we’re in pain to push these questions aside to pursue more pressing issues like how the mortgage will be paid and who is taking the kids to their piano lessons. Life is busy. That is why it’s so important to separate time just for questions.
Setting time aside for yourself to think about your life and what you want going forward is absolutely crucial.
You won’t have all the answers and that’s ok. Your kids don’t mind that sometimes you just don’t know. You should also be kind to yourself when really, you just don’t know. It is the continuous asking that is important. Question how you’re doing things now and if there is a better way.
Remember to try to keep your questions open-ended. A good rule is if you start the question with one of the five W’s, Who, What, When, Where, or Why.
Conflict Readiness During Divorce
Taking time alone before you meet with your ex-spouse to ask yourself what you want is part of what some people call “conflict readiness”. Conflict readiness is the process of looking at your situation with a future focus and preparing for your next meeting or mediation. What is it that you’re hoping for or hoping to achieve? Thinking through what your family is going to look like in this next season is incredibly important. Not only asking yourself what you want but also what your ex-spouse might want, what your children might want, how the whole family picture will look.
Practicing Conflict Readiness
To practice conflict readiness, I recommend trying to carve away just a few minutes each day and filling a full page with your questions. Don’t worry about answering anything just yet. Fill the whole page. Ask about everything and write it down. Pulling your worries out of your brain and putting them down is a great way to clear your mind. Once you are feeling like you’ve asked enough questions for the day, you can start to slowly answer them.
Be patient with yourself. During your family’s transition from one household to two households, there are going to be a lot of things to figure out. Just as when your children have lots and lots of questions, you may start to feel frustrated. It’s hard to not know all the answers. But it’s also ok.
Sorting out what your separation means for you and where you would like your life to go moving forward is one of the best things you can do for your whole family. Question, answer, question again. E. E. Cummings said, “Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.” Your questions might not start out beautiful. They might start out angry. That is why you must keep asking until you find the questions you really want to answer.
What do you want for your children?
What type of relationship do you want them to have with their other parent?
What about with you?
As you continue through your separation journey and your co-parenting journey, I encourage you to welcome questions. Part of living is sometimes not knowing. You might not be married anymore but you will always be a parent. Whether your child is 3 months old or 24 years old, there are more days coming. More life events, more joys, disappointments, and adventures. Your ex-spouse will always be the other parent of your children which means there will always be more things for you to discuss.
Learning how to ask the right questions to yourself and prepare to discuss the important things with your ex-spouse will be an invaluable skill. Some questions to get your started are below, please add your own and remember to always be kind to yourself – even if you don’t have all your answers yet.
What was wrong with communication with my ex-spouse during our relationship?
How would I like to communicate with my ex-spouse in the future?
How would I like my children to talk about this separation/divorce?
What do I want my children to feel during transitions from my house to my ex-spouses?
Why is it important to be a good parent?
What does a good parent do?
Who is a good parent?
I am a family mediator in Saskatoon at Panko Collaborative Law and Mediation. At our office, we believe in a client-driven process with a future-focused approach. As a mediator, I have a passion for communication and working through conflict to reach workable results for all parties.” www.commonsenselawyer.com
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