Surviving Divorce - Fighting Over the Kids
Learn to Co-Parent
Here are some survival tips on dealing with your ex-spouse and finding ways to co-parent your children together after divorce. These tips will help guide you through that awkward and tense time when divorced parents don’t always see eye to eye. Following them will create a better situation for raising your children with as little confrontation as possible.
Wasn't Love Grand?
Raising children should be a cooperative adventure. After all, this is why we get married and have children in the first place. You and your spouse watch each others back and make sure that you don’t get ambushed by your “little rug rats.” You trade off with responsibilities and chores with the hope that you give each other time to be adults for a little while. You spend time together watching them grow and imagining what the future holds for them.
Are You a Single Parent?
Then you get divorced and suddenly you find yourself as a single parent trying to work with a hostile, combative enemy, your ex-spouse. You may tell people around you that, “it’s all about the kids,” but in reality there is an underlying power struggle between you and your ex-spouse. The kids unfortunately become the pawns in this back and forth fight with you and your former mate. Who’s right, who’s wrong becomes inconsequential. It’s the power struggle that reigns.
Fix the Communication
Important Rules in Talking With Your Ex
Make sure you have an email account for your ex-spouse, and that they have one for you.
Make sure that all communication is done in writing through email.
You will find that this is the easiest way to exchange information, schedules or your concerns with your ex-spouse when it comes to your children.
It also helps to avoid the “he said, she said” accusations that happen in a hostile situation.
If you must have a face to face discussion with your ex-spouse, find a neutral, public place.
A coffee shop or local park are always good places to talk.
Never bring your children with you to these discussions.
You and your ex-spouse will need to have the opportunity to talk openly and, hopefully, honestly. Having your children with you will not allow for this.
Hire a babysitter or find out if the grandparents can watch them for a couple of hours.
When you find yourself in these face to face discussions always have a list of topics to cover and stay on topic, don’t deviate from the list.
This will be your time to discuss your children, not rehash why you got divorced. While having this face to face, avoid raising your voice and making accusations.
Doing so will surely make your ex-spouse defensive if they are not already. The last thing you want is to have your ex-spouse either reciprocate or end your discussions abruptly.
Finally, don’t talk negatively about your ex-spouse around your children.
No matter what animosity you have for your ex-spouse, they are the co-parent of your children.
Bad-mouthing your ex-spouse in front of them only grows the tension they feel between you and your ex.
As they get older, you will find that your children will appreciate that you took the high road.
Divorce and Being Rational
Even in the most cordial of divorces, disputes with your ex-spouse will at times raise their ugly heads. This usually means you will be dealing with someone whom you’re not sure is rational. After all, if rationality was evident in your relationship, you would probably still be married. You will find that the need to be right will overshadow the need to partner in a parental decision process. Who hasn’t gone off the deep end of the reality pool a few times when their anger gets the best of them? What is the answer to this communications dilemma? How do you raise your kids in what could be a hostile environment?
Remember the Kids Come First
Raising children is a difficult process no matter what your martial status is. Being divorced, you will discover that even if your intentions are well meaning you and your ex-spouse will probably not be on the same side. You will also find it very difficult to be a parental team and decide what’s best for your children. With a little help and patience you and your ex-spouse can co-parent your children together. Using the suggestions above will make that road a little less difficult for you, your ex-spouse and your children.
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