Because of your joint
parenting responsibilities, and the negative
impact that enduring parental conflict has upon children, it is essential to
find a way to manage your interactions with your former spouse so they are more productive and less
upsetting for all. Following are some suggestions:
your former spouse as you would a business client, literally. Strive to deal with them in a mature, thoughtful, and business like
Use your problem solving skills and powers of persuasion rather than
emotions, to get where you need to go.
Treat the difficulty you’re having with your co-parent as a problem
(which is solvable) rather than a catastrophe.
Remind yourself that finding a solution may take some time, but it’s
Ask yourself: “How else could I look at this situation?” A new “view” is very likely to produce a new solution.
Before jumping into an issue, ask yourself: “In what ways have I
been/am I being a problem co-parent myself?” Consider the tone of your comments (hostile or sarcastic?), and your
presentation (self-righteous? accusatory? impatient?).
Effective communication is essential for any good relationship.
Chances are that you
need to stop sniping and criticizing if you genuinely wish to be able to
Do ask yourself if you are still blaming your Ex for your
Don’t expect your co-parent’s way of relating to you to improve
after you separate or divorce. It
is likely to be more problematic for the first year or two.
Don’t “accept the invitation” when your co-parent attempts to draw
you into a heated exchange. Do take
a mental step backward and try to understand what is motivating his/her
Is it his/her failure to acknowledge the "death" of the bio-family?
Notify your co-parent that you will not participate in any conversations
that involve yelling or profanity because to do so is unproductive and fosters
Be clear that you are open to resuming a discussion when things can be
calm and remain calm.
Set limits if discussions are yielding more heat than light—leave the
scene, hang up the phone, disconnect the answering machine, turn off the
telephone ringer. Consider using a
neutral third party.
If you feel physically threatened, promptly take the appropriate action.
(For example, change your locks, get a restraining order, call the police,
remove yourself and the children to a place of safety, etc.).
Don’t try to banish a problem co-parent from your or your children’s
appreciate that problem co-parents are often quite devoted to the children
and, once a better co-parenting relationship has been established, you will
be grateful for their involvement.
Under- Involved Parent
Heads up. Once maintenance
payments are being made, an under-involved co-parent is likely to want more
involvement with the children.
Recognize that children do need contact with their
other bio-parent and will be disappointed, angered and possibly harmed by their absence, lateness, lack of interest, etc.
If you suspect your co-parent’s lack of involvement is a
‘reaction’ to the divorce, explain this to your children.
Let them know that it takes time for adults to adjust to a divorce too,
but you are hopeful that things will come around in a few months when things
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