Friday, 23 February 2018

How to Protect Your Children When Dealing with a Difficult Ex

Divorce is never easy and if you think you will never have to deal with your ex after the divorce; think again if you share children. When divorced couples share children, there is no end to their relationship. This can make moving on rather difficult because not only do you have to deal with the ex, you now have to often deal with all the aspects of him or her that you tried to divorce.

While it sometimes is impossible not to react to a difficult ex, there are ways to find self-control in order to protect the emotions of the children. Sherrie Campbell, PhD, a licensed psychologist, lists some tips to follow if you have a difficult ex:

1. Make your communication to your ex as pithy as possible. Only communicate the necessary information regarding issues with the children.

Try not to communicate anything emotional in front of your children. Just stick to the facts and make the conversation brief.

2. Don’t talk about money or financial issues. Consider eliminating money games by getting wages garnished. Keep all finances private and away from the children as money issues only cause children stress, worry and heartache.

3. Try to keep the communication with your ex private. You can do this through writing emails and text messages or by using programs like My Family Wizard. This will allow you to avoid possible conflict in front of the children and give you a line of documentation to go over with your legal team, if necessary.

4. Use self-control. If your ex responds to your communication with attack, re-read what you sent and see if you communicated all the necessary information. If you have, take the high road. If you receive a manipulative or combative text or email in front of your children, stay calm and rise above it. The emotions of your children are more important than what you cannot solve with your ex at the moment.

5. Be aware of covert and overt manipulation used by your ex to get you upset. Educate yourself on how to strategize so you are prepared and don’t get sucked into a reactive and bashing dispute in front of the children.

6. Respect the custodial schedule by minimizing asking any favors from your ex like switching weekends. This will only be used against you in the future. Consistency is best for the children and do as little switching as possible to maintain a life of predictability for the children.

7. Respect custodial time by limiting your contact with your children to one time daily when they are with your 
ex. Respect their time with the other parent and be supportive in that relationship.

8. Eliminate tensions for the children. Only attend athletic practices and extra-curricular activities on your time and not your ex’s time as this can create tension and conflict. But when there are major events where both parents need to attend, be respectful and non-combative with your ex when in person.

9. Show your children you can be cordial and socially warm to your ex. This in turn sets an example for your children to be kind, mature and respectful to the other parent and will alleviate uncomfortable tensions and the creation of loyalty conflicts.

10. Only worry about your own life and not your ex’s. Let your ex be free to be whoever he or she is as there is no way to control his or her life. After all, you are divorced. Be yourself, be mindful of your own business and respect the emotions of your children.

Focus on the best interests of your children first and then yourself. Children usually have a multitude of questions. Talk to your children and answer their questions honestly. Don’t be negative. When dealing with your ex, let go of the need to control, the need to defend and the need to fight. If your ex chooses to hate you, either overtly or covertly, then let it be. 
Take the high road; be cordial, mature and loving and be the peacemaker. This creates a safe haven for your children.

Love your children and create as little drama as possible by being the peacemaker. The truth of your ex will likely come to them in time. It’s best to let them discover it on their own. Just remember, your ex spouse is still their mother or father and will always be. Connecting with him or her through hate only divides whereas love binds. Children do better when they have both parents and when those parents are not fighting.


No comments:

Post a Comment