How can you co-parent with a difficult ex-spouse?


Co-parenting with a frustrating or irritating ex-spouse can drain your energy.

These interactions can be especially damaging to you if your children also feel caught in the middle between two fighting parents. Learning how to navigate this situation can help you have a healthier custody relationship.

Keep an open dialogue

According to Psychology Today, you and your ex-spouse should be willing and open to communicating directly with each other. Passive aggressive behavior or ignoring calls or texts will only lead to a more strained relationship, and will not solve whatever the main problem is that you both face.

Keeping an open dialogue means putting aside your individual differences in order to focus on the health and well-being of your children. Talk about concerns or new information regularly so neither of you feel left out of your children's lives.

Be polite but firm

Staying objective in discussions can help you both calm any tensions before a major fight starts. Enforce previous rules and routines from before the divorce in order to give your children a sense of security.

Do not try to bribe them with treats or the ability to stay up later. If your ex-spouse does this, make sure to emphasize how important consistency is for growing children.

Stay positive

Avoid badmouthing your ex-spouse in front of your children. Not only will this likely cause more unnecessary tension, but it also creates a division between you and your children. They may not feel comfortable talking about personal issues in front of you or discussing their other parent.

Even if your ex-spouse challenges you or disrespects you, choosing to act politely toward him or her can help you both work together.

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