Shared Parenting When You and Your Ex Don't Get Along

Posted Apr 19, 2022

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If you had a bitter divorce, you are probably relieved to be out of the marriage. But if you have children together, your ex will still be in your life. Children can become anxious when parents argue. They may feel they have to pick sides. It’s best for everyone to find ways to move forward without conflict.

Come up with a plan

Your plan should cover the basics of handing off the kids to one another. It should include:

  • The places and times you will drop off and pick up the children
  • How you’ll notify one another of changes in plans
  • How you will communicate important information to one another

Keep contact to a minimum

If you and your ex set each other off easily, it’s best to avoid direct contact.

  • Have pickups and drop-offs take place at day care, school or another place where you don’t have to be present at the same time.
  • Use an online shared calendar so both of you can mark down and stay up to date on visits, events and appointments.
  • Make sure you both have access to important papers. Ask the pediatrician, dentist and school to send both of you copies of medical records and school notices. You might also create a shared folder online to keep information related to your child.
  • Find a non-stressful way to communicate. Brief texts may be best. Emails or a shared notebook that goes back and forth with your child can work for longer messages. 
  • If you have issues that require a face-to-face meeting with your ex, consider asking a neutral third party to mediate. This can be a member of your house of worship, a counselor, or a social worker.

Focus on your children

Children do best when they have a strong relationship with both parents. Remember that the children’s well-being is your priority. No matter how you feel about your ex, they will always be your children’s other parent.  

  • Don’t use the kids to relay messages to your ex. It can make them feel trapped in the middle.
  • Keep your feelings about the other parent to yourself. Children become anxious when they hear negative things about a parent or when they see their parents fight.
  • There may be times when you are so frustrated with your ex that you have trouble hiding it from your children. If this happens, reassure your children that even though you get angry sometimes, their other parent loves them very much. 
By Sharron Luttrell, Military OneSource

If you had a bitter divorce, you are probably relieved to be out of the marriage. But if you have children together, your ex will still be in your life. Children can become anxious when parents argue. They may feel they have to pick sides. It’s best for everyone to find ways to move forward without conflict.

Come up with a plan

Your plan should cover the basics of handing off the kids to one another. It should include:

  • The places and times you will drop off and pick up the children
  • How you’ll notify one another of changes in plans
  • How you will communicate important information to one another

Keep contact to a minimum

If you and your ex set each other off easily, it’s best to avoid direct contact.

  • Have pickups and drop-offs take place at day care, school or another place where you don’t have to be present at the same time.
  • Use an online shared calendar so both of you can mark down and stay up to date on visits, events and appointments.
  • Make sure you both have access to important papers. Ask the pediatrician, dentist and school to send both of you copies of medical records and school notices. You might also create a shared folder online to keep information related to your child.
  • Find a non-stressful way to communicate. Brief texts may be best. Emails or a shared notebook that goes back and forth with your child can work for longer messages. 
  • If you have issues that require a face-to-face meeting with your ex, consider asking a neutral third party to mediate. This can be a member of your house of worship, a counselor, or a social worker.

Focus on your children

Children do best when they have a strong relationship with both parents. Remember that the children’s well-being is your priority. No matter how you feel about your ex, they will always be your children’s other parent.  

  • Don’t use the kids to relay messages to your ex. It can make them feel trapped in the middle.
  • Keep your feelings about the other parent to yourself. Children become anxious when they hear negative things about a parent or when they see their parents fight.
  • There may be times when you are so frustrated with your ex that you have trouble hiding it from your children. If this happens, reassure your children that even though you get angry sometimes, their other parent loves them very much. 
By Sharron Luttrell, Military OneSource

If you had a bitter divorce, you are probably relieved to be out of the marriage. But if you have children together, your ex will still be in your life. Children can become anxious when parents argue. They may feel they have to pick sides. It’s best for everyone to find ways to move forward without conflict.

Come up with a plan

Your plan should cover the basics of handing off the kids to one another. It should include:

  • The places and times you will drop off and pick up the children
  • How you’ll notify one another of changes in plans
  • How you will communicate important information to one another

Keep contact to a minimum

If you and your ex set each other off easily, it’s best to avoid direct contact.

  • Have pickups and drop-offs take place at day care, school or another place where you don’t have to be present at the same time.
  • Use an online shared calendar so both of you can mark down and stay up to date on visits, events and appointments.
  • Make sure you both have access to important papers. Ask the pediatrician, dentist and school to send both of you copies of medical records and school notices. You might also create a shared folder online to keep information related to your child.
  • Find a non-stressful way to communicate. Brief texts may be best. Emails or a shared notebook that goes back and forth with your child can work for longer messages. 
  • If you have issues that require a face-to-face meeting with your ex, consider asking a neutral third party to mediate. This can be a member of your house of worship, a counselor, or a social worker.

Focus on your children

Children do best when they have a strong relationship with both parents. Remember that the children’s well-being is your priority. No matter how you feel about your ex, they will always be your children’s other parent.  

  • Don’t use the kids to relay messages to your ex. It can make them feel trapped in the middle.
  • Keep your feelings about the other parent to yourself. Children become anxious when they hear negative things about a parent or when they see their parents fight.
  • There may be times when you are so frustrated with your ex that you have trouble hiding it from your children. If this happens, reassure your children that even though you get angry sometimes, their other parent loves them very much. 
By Sharron Luttrell, Military OneSource

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