Co-parenting After Divorce: What Not To Do
If you and your ex-spouse are planning on co-parenting your child or children together after your divorce, figuring out the day-to-day logistics of making that happen can be a real challenge. It’s very common for both parties to feel raw and hurt, which can hinder the ability to communicate and plan for the best interests of your children.
What you can’t do, if possible, is let your emotions and feeling for your ex get in the way of providing the best possible environment for your kids. Unfortunately, this is often much easier said than done.
It’s also important to remember that you can’t control your ex, or what they say and do around your children when you’re not there. Your job is to be the best parent you can be while your children are with you, and maintain a workable co-parenting relationship with your ex when they’re not.
While it’s common for recently divorced parents to let feelings of anger and bitterness get in the way of their best judgement around their children, it’s the worst possible outcome for your kids. With that in mind, here are some things every recently divorced parent should not do:
Don’t Pretend You Ex Doesn’t Exist
Refusing to acknowledge your ex around your children isn’t helpful. Your children need both parents in their lives, and pretending like your ex doesn’t exist only exacerbates feelings of resentment and guilt for everyone.
You are more than welcome pretend your ex is off planet or has been vaporized in an alien attack when your children aren’t with you. When they are, do your kids the courtesy of being respectful of the other parent in their lives.
Don’t Trash Talk Your Ex Around Your Children
For those who have the opposite of the previous problem and can’t stop talking about their former spouse around their children. Saying bad things about your ex to, or in front of, a child is a horrible thing to do.
Your kids love and need both parents, and you’re doing far more harm to them than you are to your ex by denigrating him or here around your children.
Don’t Ask Your Children To Relay Messages
With the absolute glut of ways modern human beings have available to communicate, the very last thing on Earth you should be doing is asking your children to pass along messages to your ex spouse.
You don’t want to talk to you ex? Fine. Tweet them. Leave a message for them on Facebook. Send text messages purely in emoji. Figure out what’s going to work and make it happen, but leave your kids out of the discussion.
Don’t Prevent Your Children From Communicating With Your Ex
Your kids should always feel like they can call, email, or communicate in any way the like with both parents at any time. It doesn’t matter who their staying with or what’s going on, you should never, never make an attempt to limit your children’s access to their other parent.
Imagine what it would feel like if your ex did that to you?
Do Try And Have A Good Attitude About Your Ex
It can be hard to deal with the transition between households—either because the kids want to go or because they don’t. Most kids do look forward to spending time with their other parent and in their other household. Let them have their anticipation and their appreciation of the other parent.
It’s possible they might not always brush their teeth when they’re there, or that they may be allowed to stay up later than you think is appropriate? Yes. Absolutely.
But no matter how frustrating you may your former spouse’s parenting quirks, there is absolutely nothing you can do about that. Unless there’s something truly dangerous or abusive going on, let it go. Acknowledge that your kids have a relationship with their other parent that is separate from their relationship with you, and also separate from your relationship with your ex-spouse.
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