How To Handle An Uncooperative Ex During Divorce Co-Parenting

How To Handle An Uncooperative Ex During Divorce Co-Parenting

Children affected by Divorce

Children affected by Divorce

Co-parenting after divorce is never easy. This is especially true when you have a contentious relationship or if your ex-partner is not cooperative. You will be subject to a tremendous amount of stress about your ex-spouse’s parenting skills, as well as the financial needs of your child. Dealing with divorce is hard as it is; throwing the challenges of co-parenting into the mix will make it extra hard.

What Is Co-Parenting?

Co-parenting is a unique arrangement between two ex-spouses who have a child together. When you go through a divorce, one is left to gain custody of the child. Regardless of who has custody of the child, both parties are responsible for caring for and providing for the needs of the child or children. In a normal situation, both parents are expected to play an active role in the development and growth of their child. But when the parents are separated, it becomes extra challenging. One parent tends to be more present than the other, depending on the arrangement you have reached.

Joint custody arrangements can be stressful, and oftentimes infuriating. But for the sake of your child, you need to let go of your resentment towards your former spouse. You need to make shared decisions and time for the child. This is the best way to ensure that your child gets the stability and emotional support that he or she needs need from the parents.

But when your ex-spouse is uncooperative or refuses to provide their share of the responsibility, it poses a big problem. You are left with the sole responsibility of caring for the child in terms of financial, emotional, and physical needs. If you are in this situation, you might feel hopeless about your case. So, how do you deal with an uncooperative ex? How do you ensure that your child is the number one priority and that their needs are met?

How to Co-Parent With An Uncooperative Ex

Are you frustrated by the lack of cooperation from your ex-spouse in co-parenting your child? Here are a few steps that can help you deal with this problem for the sake of your offspring:

  • Learn to set aside your hurt and anger. When co-parenting, your own feelings about your ex are not important. Save those feelings for your friends, counselor, or coach. You have to be strong for your kids. Bad mouthing your ex-spouse can be unhealthy for them. It is okay to feel hurt or angry, especially when your ex has abandoned their parenting duties. But you have to stay kid-focused. You need to do what is best for your child/ren at this moment.
  • Maintain strong communication lines. Communication is the single most important factor in any relationship. Even when you are divorced, you need to constantly communicate with your ex. Most spouses would want nothing to do with their ex when they divorce. But for the sake of your children, and to ensure that their needs are fulfilled, you must communicate. When communicating, set a business-like tone and don’t let your anger get in the way. It is also important to commit to listening. Communication is not a one-way street; you must be open to hearing what your ex has to say. Remember, you are both the parents and co-parenting means that you have to make shared decisions.
  • Be a team. This is yet another challenge when you are co-parenting with an ex-spouse who isn’t being cooperative. But you will have to make decisions together. Aside from communicating or talking consistently, you must work as a team. The best way to achieve this mindset is to think of your kids. Seeing the benefits that it can bring your child should motivate both of you to be civil about your situation. It is also a good idea to come up with rules and schedules on visits and other activities involving the child/ren.
  • Don’t ever sabotage your kids’ relationship with your ex. No matter how uncooperative your ex might be, just don’t go there. Do not speak poorly of your ex in front of your kids. Give them a chance to perform their role in this joint custody arrangement. Do not make them feel guilty or make threats involving the kids. Provide an avenue for your child to communicate with and have a relationship with your ex.
  • Make visitations easier. Whether your ex-spouse would visit your kids or they go to your ex’s house a few times each month, make it as easy as possible. Help your children to pack their things. Drop them off or schedule a pick-up time for the kids. This is not a normal routine for the children, so make the transition as easy for them as you can.

Summary

When it comes to divorce and co-parenting, it’s the children who suffer most–not the parents. You need to think about that when you are dealing with conflicts between you and your ex. Be the responsible parent so you can inspire the other to become one, too. According to experts, it is not the divorce or separation that hurts the children but the conflict. If you can maintain a cooperative joint custody arrangement, your child/ren can feel more secure and loved. They will also be mentally and emotionally healthier than if you were unable to fulfill your duties as parents in a divorce scenario.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of the acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — With Love! To get her free ebook, coaching services, expert interviews, programs, e-courses and other valuable resources on divorce and co-parenting, visit: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com

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2 Crucial Gifts Your Child Needs From You After Your Divorce

2 Crucial Gifts Your Child Needs From You After Your Divorce

By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

One of the greatest challenges divorced parents face is adequately meeting their children’s needs during and after the divorce. While most parents pay lip service to focusing on the wellbeing of the children, sadly that’s not always the case.

Divorcing and divorced parents can become overwhelmed by the emotional upheaval they are experiencing, especially if they don’t chose a positive divorce platform. After marinating in the anger, hurt, resentment, guilt, shame, blame and other conflicting emotions for so long, some lose their capacity to empathize with what their children are going through. Or they just stop caring. Other parents need parenting themselves. They  don’t have the ability to put their own needs aside to address the turmoil they see in their children.

More than ever before co-parents need to feel and show compassion for their children. So  often kids are feeling frightened, confused, guilty, angry, ashamed or resentful. Put yourself in your children’s shoes. See the divorce from their perspective – as a four, ten or fifteen year old. The experience is quite enlightening.

There are two crucial needs your child has before, during and long after the divorce takes place. If you meet these needs you are giving your child a vital gift. It’s a gift that will help them not only survive – but really thrive, despite the divorce.

1)  Let your children love and be emotionally close to both parents.

Children do best when both of their parents are in their lives expressing love, acceptance and support. Divorce doesn’t have to change the love they receive and feel from their parents. That’s if both are allowed to express that love freely.

When parents get resentful or jealous of one another, they often play games with the kids.  Frequently they ask the children to choose whom they love more or prefer to be with. These parents are setting those children up for heartbreak, disappointment and emotional wounds that can last a lifetime.

Regardless of your personal perceptions, never make your child feel bad for loving their other parent. It tears them apart and deprives them of the love they have a right to enjoy from both parents. Loving your Ex doesn’t mean they don’t love you or care about your feelings. Don’t make them have to choose between you.

2) Let your children be loved by both parents.

Showing your children how much you love and treasure them is especially important during difficult times such as a divorce. But depriving them of the love from their other parent is emotional torture for a child who innately loves you both.

You may find your Ex to be a poor parent and a despicable spouse who is unworthy of your child’s love. But in the eyes of your child that’s their mom or dad. They see someone who loves them and wants to express it – even if you don’t always approve of their approach.

It’s a serious mistake to badmouth your Ex to the children or others around them. Or to keep them from scheduled dates and visitations. Equally offensive is not inviting the other parent to children’s special events. These are all forms of parental alienation. It’s selfish, mean-spirited and a poor way to role model mature, effective parenting. Equally significant, your child is likely to turn on you with anger when they grow up. They will  resent your comments, behavior and hurtful approach to parenting. Why take that risk?

Life is far easier for divorced parents who give their children these two precious gifts: the freedom to love both parents and the freedom to feel loved by both parents as well.

All children deserve to love and be loved. Be the role model they will learn from and respect by sharing the wisdom and compassion that come with these valuable life lessons.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of numerous books and e-courses on divorcing with children and co-parenting successfully. For instant download of her FREE EBOOK on Doing Co-Parenting Right: Success Strategies For Avoiding Painful Mistakes! go to: childcentereddivorce.com/book

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© Rosalind Sedacca  All rights reserved.