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Holding Space For Your Ex

The complexities of co-parenting can present themselves in layers as you enter into this world without a lot of context. I had no idea what it would feel like to only have my kids every other week, to decide which household gets primary access during holidays, or what anchoring into a single income would mean. It’s a new lifestyle. 

As seasons change and things settle though, there will be opportunities for you to (maybe) choose to experience new colours in your co-parenting relationship. The most tangible tool I have found to support the dynamic is to learn how to have a conversation with your co-parent without attachment, reactivity or a good old fashioned “I told you so.” 

Ever heard of the concept of “holding the space” for someone? This means you create a container within a conversation whereby you listen, validate and let go. It’s a way to “hold space” that supports the regulation of the other person’s experience and emotionality to help them process and release in order to move on. And when they process, release and move on, new clarity, decision making power and ideas can surface that help them grow and evolve too. This full circle helps your relationship with them and your kids. 

To practice this technique, you must consciously remind yourself that you aren’t responsible to solve their problem, own their emotions or turn it around to be about you – just listen. After their “share”, validate their experience by acknowledging what they said, and remind them they are doing a good job, will be okay and can figure it out. Period. Please stop talking and just let them walk away without receiving your two bits, Betty. 

Giving your ex the space to be heard can go the distance when it comes to building a new foundation of trust in the relationship. And as you begin to build trust, the effectiveness of moving through future challenges together becomes a whole lot easier as you figure out how to support your kids. Because, that’s what the co-parenting lifestyle is all about, right?


Lyndsay Campbell is a co-parenting mother of two boys, a Life Transformation Coach and
Reiki Master.


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