Whether you have been co-parenting with your ex for some time or recently started, you may have experienced some of these common co-parenting issues. There are many underlying reasons as to why these co-parenting issues exist, but regardless you are not alone on this journey.
While no co-parenting relationship is perfect, it does take some teamwork to get on the same page when trying to do what’s in the best interest of your children. And it can be even more challenging when you have a difficult co-parent who wants to make your life complicated and restless.
The good thing about common co-parenting issues is many can be resolved with minor tweaks to your approach or how to manage when your ex pushes your boundaries. But first, let’s talk about what you may be experiencing and why.
1. Your Co-Parent Attacks Your Character In Front of Your Children
Your ex has yet to transition from the marital relationship to a co-parenting relationship and feels like the underdog. Their resentment and hurt feelings are speaking loud and clear as they probably didn’t think you would be okay without them. Knowing your children are your pride and joy, they want to make you out to be the “bad” parent because they are battling their own unresolved wounds. Unfortunately, you are their target in trying to degrade you and win over the children’s favoritism. The best thing you can do is stay outside of their antics and focus on the connection with your children. Children will make their own decisions about their parents and eventually see the truth of who has their best interest.
2. You And Your Co-Parent Never Agree With Each Other When It Comes To Making Decisions
Most likely you couldn’t agree in your marriage either which is why the two of you split. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t find common ground when it comes to your children. Your children deserve to have a meaningful relationship with each parent and a childhood they want to remember. Instead of making decisions from a ME Vs You, try using WE versus The Problem. The quicker you can adjust your choice of words, the better the outcome for all.
3. Your Co-Parent Slanders You To People In Your Child’s Life: Teachers, Coaches, Family, Friends, Etc.
Your ex wants to look like the superhero to all of your child’s connections, but in reality, the outsiders will hopefully see through their poor manners. Anyone who talks poorly about the other parent is a clear indication their character lacks integrity. Your ex is only doing what they can to boost their ego by using the children as a weapon of manipulation. Once again, focus on your child’s connections when in their presence, build value as a healthy parent, and let others decide for themselves.
4. Your Co-Parent Breaks The Parenting Agreement And Violates Your Children’s Safety
When your co-parent breaks the mutually agreed upon parenting plan, this is your cue to use it as leverage in your co-parenting conversations. By sticking to the facts, you are more likely to get their buy-in or apology to follow, as they initially agreed it worked for them. On the other hand, violating your children’s safety will need to be addressed in a way so you can understand how come your co-parent puts your children at risk. Trying to uncover their thought process is key to resolving your differences as we need greater insight into their choice of action and parenting style.
5. Your Co-Parent Neglects The Needs of Your Children As They Develop New Interests
Your co-parent is struggling to accept and adapt to your children’s growth. They probably enjoy the children being young so they feel powerful over them for their own internal source of control. As children get older they learn to advocate for themselves and find new interests that make them feel good about themselves. Your co-parent probably feels they are losing some of their control and wants to make everyone else pay for it. If this happens in your co-parenting relationship, the best thing you can do is support your children and help them use their inner voice, and try to get your co-parent’s support through helping them see this is about the children, not them or you.
6. Your Co-Parent Ignores Communication Channels You Have Mutually Agreed Upon
If you and your ex have agreed upon emails as the best source of communication, yet they aren’t responding to your emails, try suggesting a set day each week. For example, a lot of weekly exchange days are on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Whatever day you exchange on, it can be a good reminder to email with your co-parent that day as well each week. Also, another thing you and your co-parent can do is agree upon the response time of when to respond to emails to each other, such as a 24 hour period. This can eliminate unknowns, especially when addressing urgent matters. However, most often a co-parent won’t respond to emails or texts because they are trying to gain control and power within the relationship. It's really about their own internal struggle with their ego and less about you or your children.
7. You and Your Co-Parent Disagree About Sharing Your Children’s Information or Images On Social Media
This has been a hot topic lately for a lot of co-parents when it comes to sharing their children’s lives on social media. While your children are a part of your life every single day, it can be challenging what deems suitable for both co-parents. One of you may have zero issues with it, whereas your co-parent is absolutely against it or they don’t even use social media. Regardless of nature, diving deeper into one’s frame of mind will help you navigate what is acceptable for both parents as your children’s safety is a top priority.
8. Your Co-Parent Refuses To Return Borrowed Items To Your Home During Exchange Day
Your co-parent may not care too much about children’s items, especially if they are the selfish type. When it comes to the children’s resources, such as book bags, shoes, lunch bags, sports bottles, and the list goes on, try to also get your child on board to remember their items as well. Teaching your children at a young age to be responsible for items they use regularly helps them be more independent, more responsible, more respectful, and more helpful. The sooner children learn to care for themselves and their items, the more they will value themselves and feel happy they remembered. At the same time, if your children are not at this age where they can transport their belongings then considering asking your co-parent would be helpful to return borrowed items. Perhaps, a simple message prior to picking up your children and being helpful for all or keeping a list you both can review prior to exchange day can help eliminate additional conflict.