We’ve all had our share of difficult exes. Hey, it might even turn out that you’re the difficult ex who just can’t move past the broken relationship. No judgement. But how do you cope when you’re on the receiving end of co-parenting with a difficult ex? Truth is, co-parenting, especially if the relationship ended badly, can make raising the kids hard. However, this doesn’t have to always be the case.
You can still make it work for the two of you as well as the child even after the split. Here are some top tips to make this arrangement work:
Do not criticize your co-parent in front of the kids
This is the number one rule for co-parenting with a difficult ex. Although your ex might hit the last nerve, never bad-mouth your ex to your children or anyone else while the children can hear you.
If you have to talk about your ex, try encouraging only positive talk, and not to burden your kids with adult issues that can affect them emotionally. Also, do not tolerate when your kids speak disrespectfully about your co-parent.
Focus on your child’s needs
Co-parenting with your former partner is not about your relationship with them. Single parenting is hard but it is all about the children. Adopt a business-like attitude when dealing with them. The business here is the children. Stick to talking only on the things that have to do with the children.
Don’t expect too much
When dealing with a difficult ex, it is better if you manage your expectations of them. Things can go either way after the split. If your ex was already too busy to spend time with the children when you were together, don’t expect them to have more time now that you are separated. Be ready to be flexible with your parenting schedule at times.
Go to court if you must
If you have tried everything and it is not becoming any better, it might be time you went to court. However, this action should be considered a last resort. You might need a family court to solve disputes, especially if it involves neglect. If your ex is being difficult and is not chipping in to help with child support or the two of you have issues with custody, then going to court might be the best solution.
Be the bigger person
Always be respectful with your ex at all times to avoid ugly confrontations. It is no secret that you will sometimes feel like shouting at them when you feel they are failing their children, but never lose your cool.
Expect to be dragged through the mud
Difficult exes are naturally petty. They will drag your name through the mad by making false allegations against you to other people and probably even to your kids. This is called gaslighting.
In such a case, you will be tempted to react and lash out. However, stand firm in your truth. You do not have to defend yourself or explain your choices. Do not worry about being the “bad guy” and do not make decisions out of fear.
Your ex will try to compete with you. Do not engage
In the case of co-parenting, one parent will always have more time with the kids. This, then leaves the burden of majority disciplining, majority chores, and majority schoolwork with just one parent. So, in this case, the deck is stacked against you in the fun-parent department. Let it go.
Allow your kids to be excited to see your ex. Let him buy all thee gifts he wants for the kids and don’t be tempted to compete. Encourage and support them. Be happy for them. That’s what you ultimately want, after all – for your children to be happy.