Co-parenting is an ideal way for some parents to raise their children because it enables them to make joint decisions that are for the child’s best interests. Unfortunately, not everyone who has split up from their child’s other parent is able to handle things in this manner. An ex who is toxic or narcissistic might make this impossible.
If you’re dealing with a child custody situation that is complicated because your ex isn’t working with you, there are a few things that can make the predicament easier for you.
Protect your emotional and mental health
One tactic that toxic individuals use to keep control of situations is to wear down the other person’s resolve. By protecting your mental and emotional states, you can take away that power. Remember that you shouldn’t ever engage your ex if they’re behaving aggressively. Instead, take a deep breath and try to stay calm. This shows them that they aren’t able to control you. It may lead to their becoming more agitated, so be prepared for the possibility.
There may be instances in which you do have to get into deeper discussions with your ex. These conversations should happen away from the children. Arguing with your ex in front of the kids should never happen, and the kids cannot be used as messengers because of the risk of misconstrued information and strong reactions to the messages.
Keep the focus on the children
The children must be the focus of every decision that’s made in child custody situations. This isn’t the time to try to punish your ex for what they did to end the relationship with you, nor it is the time for them to try to make your life miserable.
When things start to veer off track, take a few moments to think about what’s best for the children before you re-engage with your ex. This may give you time to think about how the various solutions will affect the kids.
The parenting plan that you have for the children outlines the major points for raising them. These should be viewed as firm boundaries instead of suggestions. Remember that the document must address what the children need right now because you can always have it modified as their needs change. If your ex doesn’t abide by the terms of the parenting plan, work with your attorney to find out what recourse you have.