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6 Tips for Co-Parenting With a Jerk

6 Tips for Co-Parenting With a Jerk

It can be hard to put aside the bad feelings that often accompany a divorce, which makes co-parenting your children tough. 

You know you have to do it to give your children a continued sense of stability and the chance to keep a good relationship with both parents. But how do you co-parent with someone who won’t let the past go?

Here are some of the more common co-parenting problems Circle of Moms members face, and solutions.

Problem 1: Your ex is nasty and disrespectful to you and it makes you furious.

How to Deal: Address it if it’s happening in front of the kids, telling your ex you would prefer to keep things civil in front of the children, and then let it go.  As Circle of Moms member Teresa says, “You can't control what he does or doesn't do. All you can control is your reaction to it.


This isn’t your problem, it’s your ex’s. It only becomes your problem if you allow yourself to be sucked in. Mom Alicia C. agrees,  reminding  other moms that their ex is  an “ex for a reason,”  so they should “quit worrying about what he thinks and says about [them].” 


Problem 2: Your kids are being used as informants and messengers.

How to Deal: Acknowledge your part in this and resolve that you, at least, will keep your kids out of it. You can do this in a few ways:  

  • Don’t go into details about what went wrong between you and your ex. As Nicole G. points out, “Kids definitely do not need to know about all the problems their parents had.”
  • Allow your kids to develop an independent relationship with their other parent. Heather Q. suggests encouraging the relationship, adnd cautioning your kids not to “bad mouth.”
  • Give your kids some space. As tempting as it is to try to gather info about what’s happening at the other house, take member Gwen C.’s advice not to “put the kids in the middle" by asking them 2,000 questions every time they have visited or spoken with their dad.”

Problem 3: Your ex is a no-show for visits or shirks other court-ordered responsibilities.

How to Deal: Keep a log of what’s going on in case you decide to go back to court. Mom Beth Ann B. advises other moms to  “document each and every time you make a ‘date’ with him to see the kids and he shows or cancels. You may need that information later on."


Problem 4: Your co-parent isn’t involved with or doesn't care about what’s going on with the kids.

How to Deal: Don’t try to solve unsolvable problems. Circle of Moms members agree with Mary H.’s sentiment that “you cannot make someone accept the responsibilities they should if they are not interested.”  Many moms say that if your ex won’t show up for functions or help make decisions, then you should just keep doing it yourself instead of wasting your energy trying to change him.

Problem 5: Communication between you and your co-parent is non-existent or antagonistic.

How to Deal: Find a new way of communicating, preferably in writing. With my older two children’s father, we’re trying a communication notebook, but email is the method Circle of Moms members use the most.

Many moms say that talking on the phone or in person seems to encourage conflict. In fact, Karen K. says she likes email because it “takes a lot of the drama out of communicating and it gives us both time to process and decide what to say in response.”

Problem 6: Your tween or teen is upset about the way your ex runs things in his house.

How to Deal: Be their listening ear, but not their mouthpiece. Instead, teach your children healthy ways to stand up for themselves and communicate their needs.

When Darlene S. confided to the Circle of Moms community that her 13-year-old daughter is afraid to tell her father things because “he will be angry with her,” she got a lot of good advice. Included were these words of wisdom from Yvonne: “She needs you on her side...not to do it for her.

Image Source: hang_in_there via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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