Jul 22, 2011

How do I co-parent with my ex?

Category: Family Issues
Posted By: Sie

Hello, as a divorced father of a three-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy it has been very difficult dealing with the many issues of parenting from a non-couple status.  My ex, who is a doctor, says very mean things about our son while he is present.  She said something the other day that blew me away.  My son was on his back kicking his dog.  I asked him to quiet and his mother chimes in and says he has a mean streak in him.   I was shocked and after my response she then tries to enforce her charges by saying that her mother also agrees with her and that he has had a mean streak for more than a year and a half.   I said bye and left before I showed any anger in front of the children.

Answer: Thank you for your question and I’m sorry that things are really difficult with your ex.  Its never easy co-parenting when the relationship has ended. The things that caused you to separate continue to make it difficult to manage the job of parenting your children together.  I wasn’t sure from your question if you were asking about how to deal with your son or how to manage the relationship with his mother.  I would suggest that the first place to start is in dealing with your ex.

I agree that calling your son mean is unhelpful but it suggests there is a difficulty in their relationship that needs thinking about.  This leaves you in a very difficult position.  If you feel there is something that needs dealing with between your son and his mother, the only way that you can help is by improving your relationship with his mother so that she can feel supported rather than criticised when you try to help.  Given that things do seem strained between the two of you, I would suggest that you see if your ex is willing to have a few sessions with a family therapist to help you both find a way to work things through.  This would be a safe place to bring up your worries about your son and have some support for how his actions are thought about.  It is possible that the difficult behaviour that your son is displaying is his way of expressing his upset about the situation between his mother and his father.

I really wish all of you the best with sorting it out.

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