Co-Parenting With Your Enemy or Your Past Mate

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

                When two parents can’t get along, the children are the ones that ultimately suffer. In some cases people can get so wrapped up in making their ex feel bad or making their life miserable because of what was said or how they acted during the divorce that they forget to stop and think about what their child is seeing and hearing while both of their parents are at each others throats. For one thing, vindictive behavior, name calling, purposely making things difficult etc., is really a waste of everyone’s time and energy. The goal here is to come to some kind of an arrangement that both you and the other parent can work with while maintaining the relationship each of you have with your children. Here are a couple strategies you can use if you’re in a situation where joint custody or shared parenting is becoming difficult.

  • Allowing Time To Adjust. A lot of the time, the shock of having to rearrange your life creates a stressful atmosphere; people react differently to stress depending on the situation. Sometimes feelings of retribution can be common in family legal situations. Your ex might want some kind of revenge, or maybe you do yourself, for whatever happened in your custody case. This kind of stuff doesn’t help anyone. Doing things to get back to normal might be your first priority in this kind of situation. Getting back into a routine and continuing with business as usual will help you adjust to everything, especially the children.
  • Co-Parenting. The idea is not to act like the other parent doesn’t exist, because they most certainly do, we’re not going into some debate about existence here. There are several ways to be a co-parent. Like a co-pilot, you both are steering the plane towards its destination i.e. your kid’s future. You’re both a vital part in their lives and they look up to you for advice and learn by your examples. Everyone’s situation is different and requires a different touch to maintain a healthy way of living and the relationships you keep in your inner circle. Understanding that your child has a relationship with the person that you might harbor negative feelings towards is an important realization to have.

Being a single parent is hard work, no doubt about it. Doing this job with feelings of resentment or even hatred is going to slow you down and make it harder to focus on your own life and your child’s life. If you find yourself dwelling too much on this, find ways to break free from that cycle of living in negativity. What’s done is done and leaving what happened in the past will allow everyone to move on and get on with their lives. Acting in humility will make this process much easier for everyone.

To learn more click here –> www.AboutTheChildren.org

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Posted in Child Custody, Child Visitation, Joint Custody, Parenting Tips, Raising Children
9 comments on “Co-Parenting With Your Enemy or Your Past Mate
  1. Even though my son’s father is not involved at all, I have always made a point to never say anything bad about him to my son. I don’t want to pass along any prejudiced opinions. When asked why he wasn’t involved, I just tell my son what his father told me – he didn’t think he would be a good weekend father and didn’t want to put his child through that. While, it’s not a good answer, it’s an honest one. It’s painful to see and hear about other split parents out there that try, or do, poison the kids against the other parent. It’s just not good for the kids to grow up in a toxic environment like that. I think this article was spot on!

    • You have a lot of integrity and self-control in standing your ground of not conveying negativity about your son’s dad. Many props to you, that is very difficult! Keep being the example to other parents out there and support a non-manipulative parenting strategy for parents to live by. Thank you for saying this!

  2. meg68 says:

    I have no problem co-parenting with my ex, it’s my partner’s ex that drives me crazy.
    The children are so beautiful and innocent, but left in her hands the potential for them to turn out just like her is too much for me to bear!
    She talks to her 12 year old daughter like she’s her “best friend” telling her all about her sex life, shop lifting skills, binge drinking, etc.
    Last week at dinner we heard all about how “mum” got so drunk she lost her handbag and keys and had to punch a hole through the door to get inside the house she rents. Luckily the children were at our house that week. But she TOLD them what happened when they arrived home???
    Honestly, I try and see things objectively, but now that my step-daughter is 12 I really worry about what her mother is teaching her about boys and sexuality. (“Mum” recently took up with her good friend’s husband!)
    I am at my wits end. I cannot talk to her about this as she becomes defensive, (as you would I guess), and I don’t want to make waves. My partner is far too passive to say anything, but we are both worried. So frustrating!!
    There are so many issues here that are just wrong, but unless a parent beats or severely neglects a child there’s really nothing we can do anyway, except provide a better example when the children are here.
    Any ideas?

    • Hi Meg,

      Your concerns as a mother are very obvious. Typically in situations like this where there is a lot of hear-say happening it is some what hard to prove. One thing that you might want to try is contacting a local counselor or psychologist to have an appointment with your children and possibly get it on the record from a professional that this has been happening. Professional opinion is certainly valued in the courts and can help serve to prove a position.
      Your children may be able to vocalize in person to a judicial authority, however not certain of those laws in Australia. Again, a judge will make any final decisions with any case.
      All that to say you can make a request to modify your order to regulate who comes in contact with your children during their fathers visitation and have it specifically state his partner cannot be within a specific radius of your children. Like what was just stated, getting that changed in court will require some work and hard evidence.
      Another thing we tell parents, make sure to document everything. This has always proved to be of extreme importance and help in making decisions in family court.
      Thank you for sharing about this sensitive family issue and hopefully you will start seeing some changes with your ex’s partner.

    • Meg68 I completely understand your sense of frustration and injustice when you can see how it is and potentially will continue to affect the children. I have witnessed similar though less extreme behaviour and felt equally powerless to ease the childrens obvious distress and less obvious emotional development issues. We can only control ourselves not other people so I chose to make every effort to show the children another (in my opinion healthier) way to behave and relate to others. That’s all that is within my power to do as a family outsider. I wish you well x

  3. Bruno D'Itri says:

    Your prescription for how separated parents should behave is spot on.

    There is a plethora of contemporary scientific research which demonstrates that children fare significantly better, on a wide range of developmental indices, when they are permitted to enjoy a shared parenting regime.

    Of course, in an ideal world, all parents would set aside any personal animosity towards their ex-partner, and instead focus on the best interests of their children. They would follow your advice and negotiate a shared parenting plan.

    Sadly, however, the reality is that not all parents behave as they should!

    A significant pecentage of resident parents ‘use the children as weapons’ and impede contact between their children and the non-resident parent, either by simply refusing to abide by contact orders or by maliciously lodging false or highly exaggerated accusations of domestic violence.

    Interestingly, the research shows that, even if separated parents are at loggerheads, their children still benefit from shared parenting, compared with no contact at all with the non-resident parent.

    This research strongly supports the introduction of a presumption of shared parenting legislation (of course, in the absence of verifiable child abuse), even if the resident parent is not in agreement.

    The English Government is well aware of the research and, accordingly, is preparing to introduce a type of ‘shared parenting’ in its Children and Families Bill.

    Best regards
    Bruno D’Itri
    http://childrenandfamiliesbill.wordpress.com/

    • Thank you Bruno for this.
      Sounds like the English have something going for them and their government appears to be concerned about the ongoing family court issues peregrinating within your nation. This is one reason why we continue to attempt to play a role in filling the education gap regarding family court and informing private citizens of the how-to’s.
      Great information, thanks for the post!

  4. a good point i read today … is even if your a better parent, your not more important than the other, because children need both.
    so l think
    Automatic 50/50 shared parenting. would make for a big change and punishment for breaching a court order is a must…as well as outlawing Parental Alienation.

  5. Reblogged this on United Parenting and commented:
    We create our own reality and we’re responsible for the consequences of our own actions and the role modelling we offer to our children. What do you think?

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