Co-parenting with an Angry Ex.
When divorce happens, having to start all over again and move forward is difficult enough without having to learn how to begin and continue co-parenting with an angry ex.
Coping with divorce can be long term struggle or a long term achievement depending on which way you want to look at it. It’s hard but not impossible.
The effects of divorce on children is a topic that has been written about and researched over the years and it is well known that it is up to us as parents to help children cope with divorce, separation and everything else that comes with it.
And we do try.
But what if you find yourself co-parenting with an ex who is uncooperative? One who just doesn’t seem to get how important it is for the children to have him/her around?
Well here are some tips for you on how to handle such a situation.
- Remember that you cannot control what your ex does or doesn’t do. All you can control are your own reactions to his/her behaviour.
- If verbal communication only ever disintegrates into shouting matches, then stick to writing emails to one another. If the emails you receive are stuffed with abuse, threats and not so nice things then as one of your friends or family to be your censor. Let them read the email for you and report back to you any relevant information that might be hidden in there e.g. what time he/she will be coming to pick up the children or what time he/she will be dropping them back. This way you are looking after yourself and making sure that his/her anger and bitterness is left at the door.
- No shows. This can be the most difficult part when it comes to co-parenting with an angry ex. Where you ex doesn’t turn up for a planned time with his/her children and if this is what usually happens then there are two things you could try. Firstly, don’t let the children know of his/her plans to visit until you are 100% sure. Better for it to be a surprise rather than a disappointment. If you know for certain that he/she will turn up, then tell them a couple of hours before. Secondly, you could make you meeting point some place public. Let your ex know that you will be there until 3 pm (for instance). Then give him/her a 15 or 20 minute window for traffic delays etc. Also let him/her know that you have to be somewhere for 4 let’s say so that he/she understands there’s an urgency to it all. In both cases, have a plan B for the children just incase there’s a no show. Then once they are out of earshot, call a friend or family member and vent all you like!
- No Involvement with the children. Your ex is not helping out with the children and isn’t interested in how they are doing, getting on and so forth. In this case, get yourself another form of support either from a trusted friend or family member or both, why not? You cannot make your ex interested him his/her children if he/she chooses not to be. Unfortunately or fortunately, you are now your children’s main support system and parent. Do the best you can for them but don’t forget to get help for yourself too.
You might like to listen to authors Deesha Philyaw and Michael D. Thomas here as they talk about how they managed to reach a shared parenting style that works for them. They are the authors of 101 Co-Parenting – Helping your Kids Thrive in Two Households after Divorce.
How did you reach a parenting plan that worked for you? Have you reached one yet? If not, why not? Would love to hear from you.
Don’t forget to get your copy of When Love is Broken. If you don’t have a kindle, then here’s what you need, and it’s free – www.amazon.co.uk