The endless back and forth, the texts, the emails, the drop off and pick ups, holidays, lawyers…there’s no end to the problems that come up when Coparenting with an Impossible Ex. We’re exhausted, overwhelmed, sick and tired.
I am here to tell you that if you’re dealing with an ex that is not interested in finding ways to work with you, these problems will not go away.
It’s unlikely that your ex will suddenly see the light.
But you already know that.
What you may not know is how much time and energy you’re wasting on fights that don’t matter.
How many hours do you spend going back and forth responding to infuriating messages from your ex? Writing, rewriting, fuming, crying…
How much money and time have you spent on lawyers for your ex to just do what they want anyway?
It’s time to stop giving yourself away and start taking your space, energy, and life back.
To get you started, here are 5 Common Coparenting Conflicts that you can literally Stop Fighting About RIGHT NOW.
Unless your kids have food allergies, they eat sugar out of the bag by the spoonful if that’s what their other parent gives them. If your kids are bouncing off the walls because your ex gives them twinkies and a coke for dinner, then you have some tough parenting to do when your kids come home on a sugar high.
You can request that your ex make more of an effort, but you’re better off spending your energy educating your kids on how you make choices about food then you are fighting your ex. Your kids will learn more, and you’ll have better results in the end by empowering your kids to make decisions for themselves.
PARENTING TIME (OR LACK THEREOF)
Stop fighting your ex to spend more time with their kids, reminding them to call, calling for them, getting pissed when they come back after disappearing. Whatever the situation is, address and connect with your kids.
You want them to understand that it makes sense that they feel sad if their parent doesn’t make time for them. It’s understandable.
Talk to them about what they need when they feel sad. Ask if they’d like some ideas. To cry, a hug, a few minutes alone, to write, to talk?
Feeling sad is ok, awkward is ok, uncomfortable is ok, strange is ok, bored is ok, angry is ok. Fear is ok. It’s ok for them to feel these feelings and you can teach them to have that trust in themselves.
Connect with the your kid’s experience of those feelings, and stop putting energy into controlling how your ex does or doesn’t show up.
PARENTING THEIR PARENTING
Do not respond, engage, or make comments about each other’s parenting. Period.
Opinions about what makes a good or bad parent are just that. Opinions.
It is not your job to police your ex, parent your ex, or get your ex to be accountable.
Defending yourself by listing out all the amazing parenting things you do and pointing out all of the terrible things your ex does, is ineffective and a waste of time. Trying to convince or change your ex’s opinion is a waste of time and only serves to escalate conflict.
Your job, first and foremost, is to always look for ways to direct your energy toward connecting with and guiding your children.
DATING AND RELATIONSHIPS
Who your ex dates is none of your business. You may not like hearing this, but even if your ex brings their new pal around your kids, it’s still none of your business.
You don’t have to like it or agree with it, but you have very little authority to make demands here. Frankly, this is such an amazing learning opportunity, my advice is don’t even sweat it.
Your judgement and opinions about this person or the relationship, however strongly you believe them, are opinions. Stop wasting your energy and turn it to connecting with your kids.
Take this opportunity to help your kids with their feelings about it. Help empower them to deal with all types of people and relationships. Even and especially the ones they don’t like.
Blame is an absolute no-no in being effective. Identifying who is to blame doesn’t help you accomplish anything. Blame is the opposite of empowered. When we blame others we hand our power to them.
Don’t get caught up in arguments about who’s fault it was. Ever.
Teach your kids to identify blame.
When they tell you that your ex is blaming you for the divorce, or saying you’re the reason they don’t see each other that often etc., don’t get into the details of what they’re asking, address the premise as an opportunity to teach them about blame.
“Well, blaming others for things isn’t helpful. We don’t blame people, we take responsibility for ourselves.”
Barring evidence of unlawful treatment, these fights don’t do much of anything except waste your time, escalate conflict, and impact your kids.
Keep looking for ways to shift your focus from the issues your ex is causing, and turn it towards connecting with what shows up in your kids with love, patience, acceptance and guidance.
What other fights are a waste of your time?
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