NAVIGATING CO-PARENTING WARS: TIPS FOR SURVIVAL
Is your ex-spouse still angry and resentful even after the divorce is over? Are you still engaging in co-parenting wars in front of the children? This can be extremely nasty and stressful, but here are some helpful tips that I give my clients:
Do Not Engage. It is better to walk away then to try and get in that last word. Instead of fueling the fight, diffuse it by not letting things escalate. This is not the same thing as “rolling over.” It’s more about saving your sanity and not exposing your children to the nasty fall-out of a divorce.
No Disparaging Remarks. I am sure no one can bad mouth the other parent quite as well as you can after having been married to them and suffering through a divorce. However, children emulate their parents and feeding them negativity about the other parent does not win them over to your side. It confuses and saddens them. The only thing they need to know is that both parents love them.
Attend Co-Parenting Therapy. Therapists can help parties learn how to co-parent their children from a divorced standpoint, which is far different from when you were an intact family. Sometimes you need to take a step back and try to validate your ex as a parent in order to be validated yourself in their eyes. People lose sight of this after a divorce because they have moved on from the relationship. However, you are still tied at the hip because you have children together.
Focus on the Positive. Children are resilient. Even if they have been exposed to negativity and arguing, their innocence acts as a protective shield. They naturally look for love and affection, like a plant to water. Happy moments can occur when it is most unexpected. When this happens, you need to focus on being present. A feel-good moment can be extraordinary in these trying times, for all involved.
Stop Trying to Change Your Ex. People are who they are. It is likely you are divorced because that person differed from who you thought they were or wanted them to be. Being divorced is not going to change them, and remember that everyone parents differently. Accept that there are some things that you simply cannot control – and your ex is one of them.
Call a Family Law Attorney and Schedule an Appointment. Never, ever believe that it is wise to delay seeing an attorney. This is a huge mistake. Even if you are unsure of the status of your marriage, you need to know your legal rights because knowledge is power. An experienced family law attorney should be able to answer all of your questions and dispel some of the myths you may have been operating under. It amazes me how many times I hear, “Well, my spouse said if I divorce them….” (At the end of that sentence, there is usually some twisted or incorrect assumption about the law.) When you are extremely upset, you are far more likely to believe what comes out of the mouth of your soon-to-be ex, who has an agenda. Do not fall for it. Be the informed consumer and reach out for help.
Come in to see me for your free 30-minute in-depth and eye opening consultation by calling (732) 741-2600 or visit us on the web at NJFamilyLawDivorce.com.