Strategies for Successful Co-Parenting With a High-Conflict Ex
10 Ways to Achieve Post-Divorce Co-Parenting Success with a High-Conflict Ex
The destructive nature of child custody disputes and the long-term adverse consequences of parental conflict on children’s mental health can be frustrating and disheartening for those friends and family members who are often unable to help children trapped in the downward spiral of their parent’s disputes. In high-conflict custody matters, it may be necessary to enlist the help of experts like psychologists, mental health professionals, or a parenting coordinator for a child-centered intervention when children are at risk for harm. This is because parental conflict often renders parents too distracted to move beyond their divorce, separation, or civil union dissolution.
Parental conflict, which can lead to parental alienation, is defined as any action, deed, or word that creates anxiety, places a child in the middle, or forces a child to choose between their parents. This conflict could be as subtle as the tone of one’s voice, aggressive body language, sarcasm, eye-rolling, ignoring, gaslighting, or more overt acts such as domestic violence, verbal aggression, or threats of violence.
How to Handle Difficult Situations when they show up?
It is unsurprising, due to the unique nature of co-parenting relationships between ex-spouses or partners, that there will be tense moments. Although within this kind of relationship, it’s important to recognize that although people will disagree over time, disputes or disagreements are not necessarily bad. Conflict can enable co-parents to find positive strategies for their communication styles and ways to overcome previous challenges, evolve, and empower each party over time. These techniques can lead to a positive outcome for the children and the parents as well. This perspective is even more relevant these days as parents try to navigate the health, safety, and security of their family and balance the realities of the current pandemic and their parenting time agreement.
At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we understand the parent-child relationship’s value and the subtle complexities of high-conflict divorces and heated custody battles. We are committed to representing your interests, protecting your rights, and advocating for your children caught in the crossfire. We will work with you to build the most compelling case for your desired custody arrangement.
10 Positive Co-Parenting Strategies for Dealing with a High-Conflict Ex-Partner
Often, trying to cooperatively co-parent or have a positive relationship with a high-conflict personality ex can problematic if the other individual is focused on themselves or their needs. Fortunately, you can use plenty of strategies to reduce the damaging impact of long-term conflict during and after divorce on your children. These techniques won’t be easy, but with a positive mindset and a willingness to work on adapting your approach, using the strategies below can have positive results:
1. Put your kid(s) first. Your child’s needs are paramount and no matter what your co-parent says or does, set aside your emotions to focus on the impact that your conversation or actions will have on your child(ren).
Is there a solution that benefits them?
How can this conflict be resolved for them?
Minimize arguing in front of the children, and in cases of disagreement with the children within earshot, take the time to demonstrate your problem-solving skills after the fact. Children should know it’s ok to believe different things and that individuals can talk about issues and positively resolve them.
2. Make sure you have a parenting plan that is structured and highly specific, which details schedules, holidays, vacations, etc., and serves to minimize conflict.
3. Don’t tolerate demeaning or abusive behavior from your ex, and be sure that you and your children feel safe.
4. Teach your kids relationship skills. High-conflict ex-partners may try to manipulate their child(ren) by using them as messengers. Directing your child to come to you when they have an issue with you can help them learn to address problems as they reach adulthood.
5. Establish a “divorce curfew.” Set aside a time of the evening where you don’t answer texts, emails, or vent to family or friends on the phone or via social media posts. Pivot your focus to positive relaxation so you can calm down, rest, and relax.
6. Accept help from family counselors, divorce mediators, or mental health professionals, and be sure to seek support from your family, colleagues, and circle of friends.
7. Establish your boundaries and minimize contact with your ex. High-conflict personalities thrive on the possibility of altercations of some kind or another. You are responsible for your reactions to their comments and behavior. Don’t be persuaded to do something that you’re uncomfortable with just to keep the peace. Adopt a business-like style of communicating in writing with your ex. Do NOT use inflammatory language. Do NOT communicate by telephone unless it is an emergency related to the child(ren).
8. Practice self-care and be the good parental role model your kids need to thrive. Sleep, exercise, eat right and stay in good mental and physical health. Be patient with your children, and don’t bad-mouth their co-parent in their presence.
9. Don’t take it personally. Your previous relationship with your high-conflict ex probably devastated your self-esteem and self-worth. Like many gaslighting victims, you may have thought it was your fault. High-conflict people’s comments of blame and shame have more to do with their own distorted interpretation of reality than you.
10. Stay positive and keep your eye on the bigger picture regarding your child(ren)’s future. Even though it’s stressful trying to co-parent with a difficult ex, it’s probably in your child’s best interest (ren) to focus on the positive and your children’s overall welfare.
Contact a High-Conflict Child Custody Attorney in Brick & Sea Girt, NJ
At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we understand the significant emotional toll that child custody and parenting time conflicts can take on you and your child’s mental and physical health. Family law attorney Peter J. Bronzino will take the time to listen to your concerns, understand your family’s unique situation and act as your advocate at every step.
Our experienced attorneys take pride in mitigating the legal process’s many stresses while protecting our clients’ legal rights throughout Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Wall, Point Pleasant, Silverton, Toms River, Brick, Ocean, and Monmouth Counties. Lean on our extensive experience to secure an amicable and fair child custody agreement whether you are going through a divorce, civil union dissolution, annulment, or are unmarried parents. Attorney Bronzino works hard to reach civil resolutions to family law disputes but will not hesitate to litigate when necessary aggressively.