14 Ways To Get Along Better With Your Former Spouse For The Sake Of Your Children
“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” ~ Jane D. Hull
I want to remind those marriages that do end up in divorce to: Love Your Children More Than You Hate Your Ex. Not to put your children in between or hold them against you and your ex-spouse. I have outlined 14 ways to help you love your children more than the discord you feel towards your ex-spouse. Your children need loving parents no matter if they are happily married or even divorced parents.
- Do Not Argue In Front Of Children. Strive to present as a united front and get along for the sake of your children’s well-being. Arguing in front of your children creates anxiety and self-esteem problems for your child. Be patient and seek to form an effective co-parenting relationship with your former spouse. Use a respectful tone and don’t threaten or belittle your former spouse; especially in your children’s presence. This includes putting your ex down to others.
- Strive To Understand Where Your Former Spouse Is Coming From. If you seem to have trouble getting along with your ex; step back and consider their side of things. This perspective can often help you better understand how to approach your interactions with your former partner. They may be unwilling to consider your side but that’s okay.
“We are apt to forget that children watch examples better than they listen to preaching.” ~Roy L. Smith
- Never Speak Negatively About Your Ex In Front Of Your Children. Children believe they are half mom and half dad. If you are critical of your ex then your child hears you are critical of them as well. Children are smart. They will figure out over time if one parent is more to blame than the other. Don’t help them figure it out by telling your negative side of things. You may experience a short term victory but your child’s resentment towards you for speaking negatively about their mom or dad will mean long term defeat.
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
- Be Respectful In Your Communication With Your Ex. The communication with your ex doesn’t end at age eighteen; it lasts forever. Don’t forget about college graduations, weddings, grandchildren’s birthday parties and all the upcoming events in a lifetime. It is in everybody’s best interest that you are respectful in person, in email, on the phone and by text.
- Are You Contributing To The Ongoing Conflict Between You and your ex? If you and your former spouse argue often, then you should consider the possibility that you are part of the problem. You may not be, but people often overlook this potential. Ask yourself, “Is there anything I’m doing or not doing that makes my ex get so upset?”
- Step Parents Need To Have A Non-Threatening Posture. Step parents need to convey a message to the same-sex former spouse of respect. You want to let them know that you value their role as the child’s parent and that you are not trying to replace them. You should strive to support their decisions with the children and never speak negatively of them as a parent.
- Keep Interactions Impersonal To Prevent Potential Arguments. If tension exists between you and your former spouse then interact in a more business-like fashion.
- Consider The Advantages. It just makes more sense to get along with your ex. The children and you will be happier. Keep a long term perspective. An air of cooperation will help in times of emergency and unforeseen circumstances.
“The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering.” ~Benjamin Spock
- Use Good Manners. You don’t have to be best friends but you need to at least be polite and use your best manners.
- Don’t Compete With Your Ex For Title Of Best Parent. Don’t try to buy your children’s love or overindulge them to prove you are the best parent.
Gifts may make an impression for a moment but, your attention and love makes an impression that lasts a lifetime. ~Cathy Meyer
- Beware Of The Teenage Years. The teenage years are exhausting for married parents and can be even harder for divorced parents. You want your child to grow up feeling safe, happy and well-adjusted. Get along with your ex so that you can help each other guide your child through the years of adolescence.
- Don’t Involve Your New Partner Too Early. When you start dating someone new, keep them out of the business dealings with your ex. If the relationship progresses, then gradually involve them, if needed.
- Don’t Waste Your Money On Revenge. Don’t keep your hurt and anger alive by keeping a legal battle going.
- Let Go Of The Past. The first year after a divorce is full of emotional challenges. Your conversations with others may frequently focus on the bad things your ex has done to you. Your focus needs to eventually move to the future and moving on with your new Don’t let the past poison your future. You don’t want to end a bitter old man or woman.
“The unconditional love for your child, is truly amazing.”
Mark Webb is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice at South Georgia Psychiatric and Counseling Center in Valdosta. He is the author of How To Be A Great Partner. Mark has been in the field of helping individuals and couples since 1986. He has a vast amount of experience and he can have a very positive impact on your life and your relationship. If you are looking for individual or marriage counseling, please call his office in Valdosta, Georgia and his staff will help you set up an appointment.South Georgia Psychiatric and Counseling Center 2704 N. Oak St. Blg B-3 Valdosta, Georgia 31602 229-257-0100