When it comes to co-parenting with your ex, are you experiencing the same type of conflicts over and over again?
Although many co-parenting books and parenting plans focus on how to deal with your children’s pick-up and drop-off times, school conferences and holiday breaks, these parenting guides rarely address the underlying dynamics about what really goes on beneath the surface of co-parenting conflicts both during and after divorce.
It is very common to blame our former spouse for all that goes wrong when it comes to the anger and frustration that sets us off during times when we are experiencing conflicts with co-parenting.
Yet if our goal is to move toward a more civil and business-like and less volatile relationship with our former spouse, we also need to examine how our own behaviors may be contributing to fueling the fires.
Here are 3 Co-Parenting Mistakes to Avoid when you’re Angry:
1. Withholding valuable information about the child from the other parent. Have you purposefully avoided communicating with your child’s other parent when making arrangements for your child’s important upcoming sports events, activities or school performances so that you won’t have to deal with seeing your ex there? As soon as the other parent finds out from your child or other family members that they missed their child’s event, their anger and resentment may lead them to treating you in the same manner next time.
2. Confronting your child’s other parent when out in public. Have your emails or phone calls to your ex gone unanswered and now you know you’ll be seeing him or her in person at one of your children’s events? Although it’s tempting to plan to have just a few words with them in the parking lot or lobby area, this rarely leads to reaching a mutual agreement. Not only is this kind of surprise ambush terribly embarrassing for your children and anyone else around you, catching your former spouse off guard often leads to a blaming match where lots of accusations get fired back and forth, but nothing gets resolved.
3. Asking your child to keep essential information a secret from their other parent. Are you planning to move soon and don’t want your ex to know until your very last box has been unpacked? Are you planning to let your significant other move into your home soon but told your children not to let their other parent know? Telling your children to keep secrets about such vital information from their other parent can be a way to exert power over the flow of information, but puts your child in the hot seat when the other parent finds out later on that you colluded with your child to leave them out.