Here is a countdown of the top 5 things not to do if you have kids and want a good relationship with your ex.
5. Talk bad about your ex in front of the kids.
Hey, you may be telling the truth but the kids don’t need to hear that right now. If your ex doesn’t change your children will eventually figure out exactly the type of person their other parent is. It may be tempting to turn the kids against your ex because of all the $h!t they did to you but it’s not worth it. True story: My friend’s ex alienated their son against him. Growing up the boy wanted nothing to do with his father because his mother told him all kinds of horrible things about his dad. When the son grew up he decided to get to know his dad for himself. The son could see that his dad was a good guy. Now the son has chosen to no longer have a relationship with his mother because she kept his dad out of his life. Please don’t let this be your story.
4. Question medical advice as it pertains to the safety or wellbeing of your children.
When a doctor says to give your child medicine you need to give them the medicine. Here’s something to keep in mind: If you both disagree with what the doctor says then as parents agree together on what you will do. But if only one disagrees then the doctor’s advice needs to be followed. This means that when the child is with you, even if you disagree that they have a medical condition, it is in the child’s best interest that they be given the medicine. Remember that you can always follow up with additional appointments and check ups to make sure the child is doing well and to see if the medicine could be discontinued.
3. “Forget” to help the kid with homework.
When you were married it may have been that one of you took the responsibility of helping with homework. Now that you’re no longer together the sole responsibility of homework helps falls on you. That essentially means that you have to make sure the kids get their homework done each night and have it packed and ready for the next day. Don’t forget.
2. Schedule activities for the kids to do during your ex’s parenting time and be a jerk if they don’t show up.
Your parenting time is your parenting time, and their parenting time is their parenting time. If you want to enroll your kids in an after school activity you will need your ex’s cooperation to make that happen if the kids are going to attend on a consistent basis. This could work really well if you both live close enough to one another that dance class or fencing practice are in the same town where you live. This becomes more complicated when there are freeways and rush hour traffic between you. I know that it can be frustrating to not have your child be involved in all the things you think they should be doing but you don’t have control over that. If your ex brings your kids to extracurricular activities that you signed the kids up for on their day that is a courtesy. If they don’t bring them it’s their prerogative and well within their rights on their parenting day. I will say this as a word of caution: Don’t be a contrarian just because. If your kid really loves an activity, try to find a way to make it work.
1. Give unsolicited parenting advice.
This one is tough because you probably gave lots of it while married. Not giving unsolicited advice really requires you to bite your tongue and stay in your own lane. I know that sounds harsh, but I don’t mean it to be. Part of divorce is getting divorced emotionally, and that can take time. If you’re constantly critiquing your ex about things that 10 years from now probably won’t be a big deal it means you’re still attached to them. You will find greater peace of mind and rest on your days without your children if you trust your ex to take care of them.
If you have other things that you should never do as a co-parent please share them below.