The title of ‘Step Mom’ can be such an unenviable one. One minute you are cool, the next you are unfriended or simply disregarded. You may be branded as the questionable adult in the room with little to no parental power. Did you break up the marriage? Are you trying...
Dr. Jann Blackstone
Let’s face it, dealing with an ex can be a challenge, especially when they are uncooperative in a custody situation. There is also no denying it can be difficult raising kids. It’s not easy to ensure you are always doing everything in the best way. It becomes more difficult when you have a coParent demanding you follow their rules and micromanaging the days you have the kids.
There are respectful ways to deal with an ex that really can work – think about how your kids will benefit from seeing you both keep conflict to a minimum.
Don’t always jump to the offensive.
- In the end, both of you are just trying to do what you feel is best for your kids. If you still lived together you would still have a difference of opinion. Now, most of those opinions are screamed at each other over the phone or angrily texted in the heat of frustration. The goal is to not turn on combat mode. You may feel they are trying to poke and prod you, provoking you an argument. Don’t let happen. You be the sane, controlled and calm one. In the end, you will benefit from this point of view.
Try to see the information they are providing from their point of view.
- For example, my ex took the kids to the doctor and was explained how to give three different forms of medication to both boys in different doses. My ex is a visual person – he needs to see everything before it sinks in. I, however, don’t need that. His instructions to me of how to best give the kids their medication is not necessary for me, but I realized, in the end, it was more for him to remember what the doctor had said than it was for me.
Accept the fact that you can’t change your coParent.
- No matter what you say, you are going to be dealing with the same person you dealt with when you split. It’s not up to you to change them, or try to get them to see what they are doing that is so destructive to the situation. They will need to see it on their own, and most will never put forth the effort to see their flaws and make the appropriate change. This is something you just have to accept and move on from.
Make the decision not to respond.
- I don’t mean all the time. You will have to communicate with your coParent. If you are using the coParenter app you can not only log all your conversations you can also print them out when it’s time to go to court. But you don’t have to respond to them when they are saying controlling, manipulative or mean things to you just to try to put you in your place. In this moment, you will need to press down the anger and take the higher road. Arguing with someone that is obsessed with control won’t listen to your arguments.
Keep in mind that you are strong, you are a good parent, and you are making the effort to be better in the long run. The fact that you are looking into a coParenting app and the option to work with your ex speaks volumes. The main piece of advice to take away from this situation is that you can only do as much as you can. Your kids will still love you no matter what.
Written by Dr. Jann Blackstone
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