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5 Common Co-Parenting Conflicts And How To Resolve Them · Divorced Moms

Manos Legal Services > Co-parenting  > 5 Common Co-Parenting Conflicts And How To Resolve Them · Divorced Moms

5 Common Co-Parenting Conflicts And How To Resolve Them · Divorced Moms


Be the kind of co-parent who helps your children flourish and grow!

As much as you love your children, at times it can be difficult to put their best interest before the pain or anger you feel over the divorce or, at your ex. How well your children adjust to your divorce will depend on how well you and your ex co-parent once the divorce is final and how little co-parenting conflicts you have to deal with.

Married couples have a tendency to follow each other’s lead when it comes to parenting. When the marriage and the relationship with the other parent are still important, people are more flexible and willing to compromise. Divorce ends that and parents are free to parent based on their beliefs alone without the input of the other parent. Or, so some believe. The marriage may be over, your ex may longer be important to you but, the need to parent together will never end. And very few things are harder than having to parent with someone you’ve separated your life from.

Below are is a list of common co-parenting conflicts and how to work through each

1. You Two Have Different Parenting Styles:

Dad is lax when it comes to parenting. When in his home the kids go to bed at midnight, take a shower every other day and homework is constantly lost because there is no organization. And, fast food is on the menu every night.

Mom pulls her hair out trying to maintain a healthy routine for the kids. When in her home there is a strict 9 o’clock bedtime, homework is done and put in backpacks immediately after dinner, which is home cooked with only organic ingredients.

Addressing parenting issues before the divorce is final can keep down a lot of conflicts once you are all trying to move on.

Mom and Dad both seem hell-bent on proving their style of parenting is better than the others. Dad feels controlled when Mom points out how unhealthy his lax rules are. Mom feels Dad lacks concern for the wellbeing of the children when he doesn’t compromise. How can this problem be resolved?

Most experts will suggest Mom and Dad sit down, discuss the problem and find a solution that is favorable to both their positions. But, how many divorced parents do you think are able to come to a compromise on parenting or anything else?

Very few divorced parents get along well enough to engage in a productive manner about anything. You should give it a try though. Communicate face-to-face or via email and a compromise on parenting styles. Put in an attempt and when that attempt doesn’t work, contact your divorce attorney if you seriously feel that the other parents parenting style is hugely detriment to the children.

I’m not one who encourages getting the courts involved in parenting but, if your children are being damaged by a lack of rules, an improper diet and not enough attention paid to things children need to flourish and grow into productive adults, you may have to pull out the big guns.

One way to keep different parenting styles from becoming an issue after divorce is to address how your children will be parented in your final divorce decree. Have clear language in your decree about important issues such as:

  1. Bedtime
  2. Diet
  3. Homework
  4. Who the children can and can’t be around when in custody of the other parent (new boy/girlfriend)

Addressing parenting issues before the divorce is final can keep down a lot of conflicts once you are all trying to move on.

2. You Worry About Your Child When They Are in The Other Parent’s Custody:

Unless your ex has a history of abusing you or, the children, you need to let go of the fear of what is and isn’t happening when they are in his/her custody. I know mothers who want a schedule of every move their child will make when in Dad’s custody.

One Mom was highly pissed that she wasn’t contacted when her son ran a fever and had to be given Tylenol while on a two-week vacation with Dad. She had been given an itinerary, knew where they were staying, what days they would be at the beach and which days they would be at the amusement park. And, a contact number for any time she felt the need to talk to her son.

If you are freaking out over the idea of not knowing where your child is 24 hours a day, that is an issue with you, not with the child’s Dad. You may believe that only you can keep your child safe from harm but, you are wrong. You are also doing your child no favors by not showing them they have a Dad they can trust. How can this conflict be resolved?

Lighten up and if you can’t, get therapy to address the fact that you now have to share your child with your ex. It’s just that simple!

3. Your Ex Uses The Children To Hurt You:

Children aren’t pawns to be used against the other parent. You’d be surprised how often this happens. If you are aware of the fact that Dad wants to spend more time with the children but, you refuse to compromise, it isn’t about the children, it’s about you wanting to hurt Dad by withholding the children.

There is no better way to hurt someone than to use their children against them. It could be small things like giving your daughter the new sweater Mom refused to buy or, it could be big things like taking the children out of town with no notice to Dad. How can this conflict be resolved?

Again, if you are using your children in such a way, the problem isn’t with their Dad, it’s with you. Step back and try to view the situation from your children’s perspective. Is your anger at your ex truly worth the pain your children experience if you use them as pawns?

If you can’t wrap your brain around the concept that children are not weapons, their Dad has the option of using the court system to put a stop to your antics. Because, when push comes to shove, using children to harm the other parent is a form of child abuse and the courts’ frown on that.

4. Either Parent Breaks Agreements:

Your children are out of town with Mom. It was agreed between the parents that Dad would be able to speak to the children daily and have information about where the children are staying. Mom leaves town without informing Dad of where they are going or, staying. She turns her cell phone off to keep Dad from being able to get in touch with the children.

Her reasoning? “He is a control freak and I’m not going to let him control me any longer.” Two wrongs don’t make a right! Your ex may have been a control freak during the marriage, that doesn’t mean you get to become a control freak after the divorce. How can this conflict be resolved?

Dad can either take you to court for controlling his relationship with his children or, Mom can work through the issue and come to terms with the fact that her ex-husband’s right to also parent his children trumps her need to punish him for being a “control freak.”

5. Emotional Issues Rule The Co-Parenting Relationship:

There are some parents who either can’t or obstinately refuse to move past emotional issues left over from the divorce. If your co-parent is passive aggressive or, God forbid, you are co-parenting with a narcissist, you will find that regardless of how civil you attempt to be the co-parenting relationship will be riddled with conflict. How can this conflict be resolved?

Unless the parent with emotional issues seeks help, there will be no resolution. A parent with a personality disorder has an inherent blind spot when it comes to what is and isn’t in their children’s best interest. As the reasonable, healthy parent you need to focus on the fact that you are dealing with someone with psychological issues and do the work needed to protect your children from harm.

In many of these situations, the courts will be of no help. You can’t legally force someone to behave morally and ethically toward their children. You can, however, be an example to your children of the kind of parenting they deserve. And, do your best until your children become adults and able to deal with the other parent in their own way.

Children whose parents manage to co-parent in a civil manner after divorce heal more quickly, have fewer emotional problems related to the divorce and learn valuable lessons about how to compromise and work with others to get their needs met. Be the kind of co-parent who helps your children flourish and grow!



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