For those that have a problem ex often described as toxic, it can be difficult to co-parent, however, it is not impossible. Many individuals state that their ex is abusive, does not have good parenting skills, is angry about the divorce, is addicted to alcohol or drugs, and tries to alienate the children. Even if your ex is in this description, you can co-parent, however, if your ex is behaving in a manner that might cause danger to you or the children, then you will need to seek more resources especially if you are afraid of abuse.
An ex that just acts rude or behaves poorly, you can still co-parent by using a few tips that might help you and your children with the transition. Of course, it would be best if you could get your ex into co-parenting counseling even though they may not listen at first.
1. Put the Children First
When you are co-parenting, the most important thing to remember is that you must put your children first. The needs of the children are more important than the way your ex is behaving. Try to steer all conversations toward the sake and need of the children at all times.
2. Negative reactions due to triggers
More than likely you know what triggered your ex’s moods that may have been the last draw that sent you down the road to divorce. While co-parenting with your ex, be sure that you do not trigger those reactions. Even though in the past, you may have used these triggers during your marriage to make your point, now that the marriage is over, stop triggering the negative reaction. Remember the very first tip, children first. They do not need to see any more negative moods or arguing.
3. Only talk about raising the children
Once again, the only conversation you should have with your ex is about raising the children. There may be unresolved issues in your marriage, but with a toxic ex, these topics are not going to help you raise the children. As a matter of fact, hashing over the same old topics can actually make it harder to agree on any parenting issue.
3. Never say anything bad about your ex in front of the children
This may be hard at times as you are more than likely still angry and hurt over the end of your marriage, however, the children love both parents and need to be unbiased. When hearing a parent talk bad about the other parent it can cause the children to have issues with the parent and often harder for any parenting skills to work. Too many times, children will begin to feel like they cannot talk to you about the fun things they do with your ex which places them in a position to lie to you or to stay quiet. In order to keep a good relationship, you must put your own feelings behind you, at least in front of the children. It would be best to talk with a counselor about your emotions so you can get on with your life and enjoy time with your children.
4. Promote a good relationship for your children with the other parent
Remember, your children love you and your ex. As long as the other parent is not abusing the children or is an addict, they should enjoy spending time with their other parent.
5. When talking with your ex, make it all about the children
It is best if you keep your personal life to yourself when talking with a problem ex. The only thing that needs to be discussed is the children, period.
After trying these tips and nothing seems to be working without causing arguments, then it may be time to seek help from a professional therapist even if your problem ex will not attend counseling.
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