21 Day Anti-Negativity Challenge
When one or both parents seems caught in a pattern of criticizing or bad-mouthing the other parent, especially in front of the children, I ask if they would consider the 21 Day Anti-Negativity Challenge. For 21 days in a row, they must refrain from any negative comment about their spouse, whether in front of the children or not. Negativity can become addictive and the complete ban on it is a sort of de-tox. It takes 21 days to break or make a habit. I try to book the next session at around the time that the 21 days is up. If they are up for the challenge, I also ask them to do a 21 day Appreciation Journal where each night they must write one thing they appreciate about the other parent as a parent or co-parent. They may keep this journal private, although I ask them to share the journal with me at the end of 21 days and invite them to each share 3 ‘appreciations’ from their journals. I have seen this work wonders to turn a negative pattern around in otherwise mature and responsible parents.
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Collaborative Family Lawyer, Accredited Family Mediator,