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How to Co-Parent When Your Ex Wants to Fight All the Time

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Remaining a cooperative parent after a divorce or separation can be hard.
It is harder when your ex wants to make sure that they make you pay for any hurt you caused them.
Often the co-parent will create big problems.
Here is how to co-parent when your ex is trying to cause problems.
Be sensitive to your children's needs Children have things going on in their heads that they don't share.
You might think they are handling the divorce well when, in fact, their self esteem and trust in others are suffering.
You can do further damage without realizing it if you don't stop to think about how they can interpret what you say.
Instead of saying: "You need to help around the house more.
Since your dad is gone, I can't do everything", try saying: "I'd like for the garbage to be taken out before you leave for school this morning".
Take a few minutes every day to bolster their self esteem.
Find something to recognize and tell them they are doing a great job.
("Thank you for taking the garbage out this morning.
It really helps me.
") Don't say bad things about your co-parent ever It's so tempting to make sure the kids know why you can't afford to buy them that new video game.
("If your dad was still here, we'd have the money, but he's gone so we can't afford it.
") While that may be true, you are pointing the finger at the children's father.
You are making him a bad guy.
He may be YOUR bad guy, but it's important that your children don't see you making him look bad.
Instead of pointing fingers and finding excuses, use situations like this to encourage your children to find ways to make it happen.
("I know you really want that game, but I can't afford to buy it.
Perhaps we can find a way for you to earn the money and buy it yourself.
") If their other parent is consistently late picking them up, don't say: "If your father is late one more time, you aren't going to his house.
" Instead, make sure that you factor in his lateness when you make your plans, then if he is late again, use the extra time for working on homework or getting chores done that usually wait until Sunday night.
Stay positive when you announce the change of plans.
(Hey! We are all ready to go, but it looks like we have a few extra minutes here.
Let's get some homework done so you don't have to do it Sunday night.
") Agree with the co-parent Sounds impossible, right.
It's not.
Keep in mind that 'getting along' is not the same as 'giving in'.
If your ex often tries to push your buttons when the kids are with you, remain positive.
Some things you may say include:
  • "I understand what you are saying.
    Let me think about it and we'll talk later.
    " This allows you to choose the time and place to talk.
  • "I agree that we need to change the way we do this, let's talk about it during the week when the kids aren't around.
    " This tells your ex that you are willing to listen (and hear) what they are saying.
    Just knowing that you agree will often make an ex want to try harder to do the right thing.
Always be polite.
Don't let your buttons get pushed.
If you feel them getting pushed and don't think you can hold your tongue, say this: "I agree with you on some of this.
Let's talk about it Monday.
" If your co-parent won't let it go, restate, "I agree.
We will talk Monday.
" Remember to be polite and keep your cool.
You can do it!
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