Tips for dealing with a difficult co-parent

Even years after a divorce involving child custody and co-parenting, there can still be some lingering anger on one side of the parenting partnership. Although these emotions may be masked the majority of the time, when they come out, the anger releases in full force.

Dealing with a co-parent that is emotionally unpredictable can be difficult for both you and your child. Try out these four tips for keeping cool (at least on your end) in your situation.

1. Don’t Take Their Anger Personally

Negative feelings after a divorce can definitely linger. When tension runs high on your ex-spouse’s end, don’t take their attitude personally. Keep in mind that a lot of the anger being directed at you could have absolutely nothing to do with you at the time. Your ex could just be having a bad day the weekend that you happen to have the children.

When your ex starts to lash out at you, don’t worry about anything you could have done to cause this. Focus on your children and keep some emotional distance between you and the situation.

2. Don’t Dish It Back Out

Keeping your reactions in check at these times is essential to maintaining a healthy co-parenting experience. Regardless of what your ex decides to throw at you, dishing out your anger right back at them is only going to worsen the relationship.

Sure, there may be times where you will have to stand up for yourself. However, if the situation isn’t pressing, take a step back and consider:

  • How your response can improve the situation
  • If your response will just make things worse
  • How much this argument will really matter in a week or two

3. Keep Kind In Mind

During a co-parenting plan, being kind is essential. While being civil is always a great option in these situations, KIND is an acronym we use that stands for:


Keep your interaction with your ex about your children. Try to avoid any personal attacks that may come your way.


Stay on the current issue you are trying to resolve together. Veering off-topic only opens you up to potential attacks.

Stay Nice & Be respectful.

This is always a safe option. Think of it like dealing with an irritable customer at your workplace.


Don’t be afraid to be clear on the contact limitations that need to be in place for your co-parenting plan to work.

4. Your Kids Don’t Need Conflict

Finally, keep your kids out of the conflict. We understand that sometimes an argument is unavoidable between two divorced parents. Don’t drag your children into the problem by forcing them to add their thoughts on the situation or take one parent’s side over the other.

If your children are around during an unexpected argument, afterward, talk to them about the problem at hand without focusing on the person at fault.

Have Questions About Crafting A Co-Parenting Plan? Marx, Altman & Johnson Has The Answers!

Co-parenting is something that requires both parties to meet in the middle on how their children are to be raised. Sometimes these plans need a third-party to help bring a couple together on these decisions.

Marx, Altman & Johnson is a team of family law attorneys that focus on child custody, and other related divorce issues. Reach out to us today if you need help resolving any of your co-parenting or divorce terms.

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