Wouldn’t it be great if, in every divorce where there are children, the parents could put aside their animosity for each other and agree amicably to do what is in the child’s best interests? Wouldn’t it be great if the conflict were contained to just the parents and both parents agreed on how to parent the kids?
Of course it would, but that’s not how life works in many divorces. Sometimes, parents get trapped in a “win-at-all-costs” mentality or just can’t let the anger and bitter feelings from the divorce go when they are around the kids.
So, how do you parent with someone who is still acting hostile and uncooperative? In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the most common co-parenting issues from high-conflict divorces.
What do you do when your co-parent doesn’t seem interested in parenting or playing an active role with the kids? Even worse, what if they have stopped communicating with you altogether?
First, recognize you can’t change them. The only person you have control over is yourself, so vow to move forward and be the best parent that you can be.
Communication is a different matter. This is where a family attorney can help intervene and work out communication issues. You will need to communicate with your ex about everything from parenting time to expenses, so if they are not communicating or not following through with commitments, it’s time to discuss the situation with an attorney and see what your options are.
It’s not uncommon for children, especially teenagers, to complain about the rules or structure at the other parent’s house. You may want to get involved immediately and advocate for your children with your ex. Don’t do it.
The last thing you need is to get into another conflict with a difficult parent. Instead, focus on teaching your children communication skills that they can use to express their feelings and opinions to the other parent. You can empower them, teach some skills and avoid conflict.
It’s a shame that many parents in a contentious divorce like to send messages to the other parent via the children. Your kids are not an avenue for you to hurt the other parent, and you can be sure the kids feel confused and guilty when they realize what they have done.
Research clearly indicates that children thrive when they have a positive, healthy relationship with both parents. Respect your ex enough to allow your children to have that relationship and keep parenting conversations out of earshot.
If your child is peppered with questions from your ex, teach your child to tell your ex that they just don’t want to talk about certain things. They certainly have the right not to answer every question. It’s all about respect – your ex needs to respect your relationship with the kids, and vice versa.
Bottom line: You can’t control the behavior of your ex. The best you can do is control how much it affects you and your children. Children don’t like hearing one parent talk bad about the other. It makes them feel confused and trapped in the middle of a conflict.
Keep focus on your life and your wellness. Your ex doesn’t control the path you want to take. If you hear your ex dissing you, pull them aside and request they be respectful in front of the children.
If you are in the middle of a contentious divorce, Family Matters Law Group can help. We’ve assisted many clients in Henry, Clayton and Fayette counties, as well as others across the Atlanta metro area. Setting up a consultation is easy – simply use our contact form. We’d love to hear your story.