Coping When Your Ex Partner and Parent of Your Children Is Being Difficult

Coping When Your Ex Partner and Parent of Your Children Is Being Difficult

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Expert Author Susan Leigh
What can you do when your ex husband or wife never lets you know when he or she is going to see the children? He/she may make contact at short notice and unexpectedly offer to babysit for a few hours, suggest having them to stay overnight or conversely break previously agreed arrangements, sometimes by simply not turning up as planned.
This results in instability and disruption to routine for young children, makes it hard to make plans, results in sometimes having to console disappointed children and means that you're never able to fully commit to a social life of your own.
Let's look at some tips for coping when your ex partner and parent of your children is being difficult:
- Once your ex has demonstrated that he/she is unable to be relied upon it is often best to mentally remove them from your childcare plans for everyone's sake. You have, no doubt repeatedly explained the consequences of his behaviour, the impact it is likely to have on his long-term relationship with the children. You could try discussing the situation with your lawyer to see if your access arrangements could be formalised but if your ex is determined to be unreliable there is in reality little that can be done.
- Parents of young children often become friendly with other parents over time. You could focus on building relationships with other parents at the nursery, at school events, the park and discover for yourself a source of invaluable advice, support and friendship. As your children make friends perhaps they would be comfortable staying over at each others houses occasionally. By alternating childcare you could provide each other with reliable baby sitting and free evenings from time to time.
- Grandparents often assume extra responsibility after a break up, but often in-laws can become neglected or estranged. Could you improve your relationship with both sets of grandparents? They may be thrilled at the opportunity to be included in your children's lives and enjoy having their grandchildren stay overnight. It often benefits children to have a loving, supportive relationship with their grandparents, a relationship that is often a little detached from their immediate family group. Children often find it beneficial to have a safe person with whom they can discuss their fears, problems and concerns without having to come to you and risk upsetting you or appearing disloyal. A grandparent can fill that role perfectly.
- Try taking a more relaxed approach to your social life. You might consider asking friends round for a meal or outdoor barbecue and everyone can help with the expense by bringing a dish and a bottle. Okay, it's not the same as a dressed up night out with friends, but you can enjoy making your home more fun and sociable, the children can play safely together and you can all enjoy each others company.
Trying to maintain friendly enough contact with your ex partner can be a minefield, especially when you have your own issues and feelings to deal with. You know though, how important it is to try to be fair and ensure that your children have a meaningful and valuable relationship with their estranged parent. There's some merit in remembering the saying, 'you divorced each other, not the children'.

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