A Single Parent’s Guide to Getting Along with Your Ex

Whether your single parent status was expected or came as a complete surprise, you may now find yourself harboring a lot of resentment toward the other parent. No matter what it is that gets under your skin, there are ways to put it aside and get along for your child’s sake. Here are a few common problems and some ways to work around them!

You Don’t Trust Them
Even if you’ve broken it off and aren’t in a relationship with that person anymore, you still need to be able to trust them with your child(ren). Casting aside that cloud of uncertainty is tough, but the last thing you want to do is make your children not trust their parent. The best way to do this is to start off slowly. Begin with supervised visits. After you are comfortable with that, let them take the child for an hour or two. Slowly work up from there until you are comfortable. Make sure that you communicate with the other parent that, while you want them to see and have a relationship with their kids, you need to rebuild your trust.

You Argue Over Everything
Did you ever witness your parents fighting when you were younger? How did that make you feel? Scared? Sad? You don’t want your kids to feel that way, so you need to avoid arguing where they can see or hear you. If there are issues you need to work out, get a baby sitter and hash it out on your own time. Be courteous and respectful of one another in front of your kids. They will respect both of you more for it. Also, by getting it out of the way and in the air, you will both feel much better.

You Undermine Each Other
You know that your ex told your child they were not allowed to do something. You feel that they should be able to. Do not go behind the other parent’s back and let the child do it. Back each other up in front of your kids. Your number one priority is to raise healthy, happy, responsible children. If you undermine the other parent, you are only teaching them how to manipulate the system and play games. If you feel strongly about it and can’t let it go, have a conversation with the other parent about why you disagree. Do it respectfully. Reach a decision together and provide it as a unified team to your child.

You Badmouth Each Other
Everyone needs to vent. It is normal and healthy. You need to make sure, though, that you don’t do this in front of your kids. Whether or not your ex is a lying, cheating dirt bag, they are your child’s parent. As such, your child needs to have respect for them and reach their own conclusions about their parent’s behavior. Don’t sugar coat the situation and make the person seem like a saint, but provide a realistic picture of the other parent. If all they hear is one parent saying how awful the other parent is, there is very little hope of them having a healthy relationship.

Keep in mind, children are very receptive to the energy that is around them. Sometimes it is best to put your personal feelings aside for the good of your children. After all, you are the adults!