One of the greatest concerns for divorcing parents is often protecting their children from the tension, squabbles and other negative things that can occur during this difficult time. You may be among those Washington parents who try to keep your children insulated from your marital struggles, but when it comes to custody matters, it may be impossible to protect them entirely.
You may hope that you and your ex could co-parent civilly and place the needs of your children ahead of your personal conflicts and hurt feelings. While you may be willing to take the high road, what can you do when you simply cannot stand to be around your ex?
How can I handle this?
Divorce can be an ugly experience, and it can be hard to let go of the resentment that often builds as a marriage ends. If your divorce resulted from betrayal, dishonesty or a deep personality conflict, you may find it next to impossible to be in the same room with your ex and maintain a civil and dignified composure. If this is the case for you, how can you successfully co-parent without causing irreparable psychological or emotional harm to your children? Child and family advocates recommend these tips:
- Set clear boundaries from the very beginning. This may include establishing times and places when your ex cannot contact you, determining topics of conversation you may not broach or limiting the methods of communication between you.
- Find ways to share custody schedules electronically to minimize contact. This can include email, texting or any of the many apps created just for these situations.
- Keep track of violations. It is always smart to document the date, time and details of any negative encounter with your ex that involves your custody rights. Your notes may come in handy if your disputes escalate.
- Resolve to avoid any negative comments about your ex. Talking trash to your kids about their parent can be extremely damaging. Even if your spouse bashes you, it is important that you take the high road.
- See through your children’s eyes. Your differences with your ex are not your children’s, and the children likely love both of you. Anything you can do to promote a healthy relationship with their other parent can only benefit them.
Ideally, the animosity between you and your ex will dissipate as time passes, but meanwhile, it is critical to remember that your custody arrangement is solely for the wellbeing of your children. However, if you feel your situation with your ex begins to infringe on your parenting rights, you would be wise to reach out for legal advice.