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Feb

12

5 Things You Can Not Control When Co-Parenting With An Ex

It’s been eight years since my divorce was finalized. Yet, I’m still learning how to co-parent with my Ex. This stage in my life, my boys’ lives, didn’t come with a manual. It’s been a learning process. I may not have all the answers, but what I have learned is that letting go is essential to my sons’ well-being (and mine!).

As parents we’re accustomed to being in charge of our children’s lives. When they’re younger, we select their clothes, tell them who to play with, what to eat and decide which shows they can watch. As they get older, we give them more leeway. We no longer select their outfits or their friends, cook all their meals or monitor their television viewing as we once did. Its a process that happens gradually and because of that it doesn’t hit us as hard. A break up disrupts this process. After a divorce, or break up with your child’s parent, it can go from one extreme (complete parental decision-making) to another (minimal to nil parental decision making). How you deal with this will help you and your child navigate that new norm.

Below are 5 Things You Can Not Control When Co-Parenting With An Ex. Learning to let go of these things during this stage has made my life, and my sons’ lives, much easier. I hope it helps you too!

Broken Promises

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As the custodial parent, you see your child everyday. You’re their constant, their anchor. They know they can rely on you. This may not be true of your Ex. Whether it’s arriving on time (or even showing up!), calling, or attending a school event, they may promise and not deliver. This is out of your control. Let it go. No matter how much it may hurt your child (and you), do not attempt to make it better by making excuses for their actions. This can backfire and cause your child to blame you for your Ex’s transgression.  Don’t make promises your Ex can’t keep. The best you can do is remain open to a dialogue and answer their questions as honestly as possible, while making sure to keep it age appropriate.

Bedtime Schedules

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Remember when you were younger and had sleep-overs? If you were anything like me, you spent most of that night talking and laughing. You were creating memories, making each minute count because you didn’t get to do it every night. And, that felt right. Well, your kids are creating memories with your Ex. They are trying to cram as much as possible during those visits. And, that’s ok.  Pick and choose your battle. Unless it’s affecting their health or schoolwork, let it go if he doesn’t stick to your bedtime schedule.

Food

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Do you feed your children breakfast, lunch and dinner at a specific time? Do you make sure to include all food groups? If you do and your Ex doesn’t (or vice versa), don’t let it rile you up. Yes, we want to make sure our children eat healthy foods at regular hours but if your Ex takes them out for a burger and french fries every so often, let it go. If they eat well with you, don’t fret. It will just make them appreciate those home cooked meals with you even more.

*Food allergies are a completely different story. Make sure your Ex understands your child’s food allergies and the  the consequences of not following.

Cleanliness

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I have boys. When they were younger, they were very rough and tumble. This caused boy funk. If you’re a boy mom you’ll understand what that means! It’s not an odor you can easily forget. This meant daily showers. With. Soap. This wasn’t always the case when with the Ex. Maybe they came home late and were just too tired to bathe. Or, they just stood under the water and didn’t use soap. Whatever the reason, they didn’t maintain that same degree of cleanliness as they would at home. Let it go. It’s ok if they don’t bathe with soap everyday. In fact, studies have should that letting a child get dirty may help their immune system. So instead of getting upset, applaud your Ex for caring enough to get them dirty!

Anger

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You know those reasons you broke up? Yeah, those. You can’t control your Ex’s anger but you can control yours. Let that go. Holding onto that anger will just hurt you and your children. Instead, open up that space in your heart (and theirs!) for new experiences, people and love. Trust me. You’ll be happier and so will they.

Have something to add?  Disagree?  Let us know in a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook.

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About the Author

Migdalia Rivera, also known as Ms. Latina in social media, is a single Latina mother of a teen, tween and 2 Australian Shepherds. When not blogging, or chasing after her energetic bunch, she connects influential bloggers with brands and PR agencies via her blogger network, Stiletto Media.

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{ 20 comments… add one }

  • Pam February 12, 2016, 3:00 pm

    I have a couple of friends who are co parenting with their exes. There can definitely be some struggles when things are out of their control. It is important to realize what to let go and what to be firm about.

  • Rachel February 12, 2016, 3:25 pm

    Might, thank you for writing this. It really resonated with me . Your tips elevate the notion of living in peace and letting go of things we don’t have control over. I love that notion and you motivate me to continue to walk on that path. Xo
    Rachel recently posted..#DIY Romantic Makeup and Hairstyles for #VDay #SingleandReadytoMingle

  • Rachel February 12, 2016, 3:27 pm

    Mig*** sorry typo.

    Mighty Mig isn’t shabby though

    Anywho! Lol
    Rachel recently posted..#DIY Romantic Makeup and Hairstyles for #VDay #SingleandReadytoMingle

  • MELISASource February 12, 2016, 3:29 pm

    I absolutely adore this post. As parents, we want to control everything that affects our kids, but sometimes we can’t. It’s important to remember that in sticky situations like these.
    MELISASource recently posted..The Walking Dead Inspired Cupcake Recipe

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle February 12, 2016, 4:07 pm

    This is SO important. I was just talking with a friend who’s recently divorced, and she’s having a hard time accepting that she can’t control the things her ex does or doesn’t do.
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle recently posted..Dell XPS 13 Touchscreen Laptop with Infinity Edge Review

  • Brandy February 12, 2016, 4:15 pm

    Co-Parenting can be challenging, especially if both parents households are different, but eventually you get prepared for that “welcome back” and learn how to roll with the transitions and work with the kids ont hat. I am blessed to have managed it quickly.
    Brandy recently posted..21 Days to Be Positive – Take One Thing at a Time

  • monica February 12, 2016, 5:03 pm

    I have a close friend who is going through this and it is so hard as it is all so new to her. This is such solid advise that I will pass on!

  • Marcie W. February 12, 2016, 9:35 pm

    I am sure the world of co-parenting is difficult for numerous reasons. Hopefully despite the hurdles everyone can come together for the sake of the kids.
    Marcie W. recently posted..Eddie The Eagle Official Trailer #FlyLikeEddie

  • Laura Rodriguez February 12, 2016, 10:21 pm

    I love your post, I can imagine co-parenting. My brothers are divorce and I have not idea how they manage this. So often I see them upset and frustrating and is painful for the whole family.

  • Elizabeth O. February 12, 2016, 10:58 pm

    I can imagine how challenging this can be especially for people who have remarried. Parenting is hard as it is, conflict would make it harder.

  • Theresa February 12, 2016, 11:39 pm

    I agree with all of these. When we would see my dad on the weekends, mom’s rules usually didn’t apply. I am thankful she let us be kids and just have fun with dad instead of griping that he let us stay up too late, or fed us sugar filled cereal.
    Theresa recently posted..Chocolate Pecan Coffee Cake

  • Beth@FrugalFroggie February 13, 2016, 4:38 pm

    Letting go of the food thing is something I will have a hard time with. My kids’ dad likes to eat out for every meal.
    Beth@FrugalFroggie recently posted..IdealShape-Ideal Boost Variety Pack February 2016

  • Ora Lee Gurr February 13, 2016, 8:12 pm

    What excellent advice for dealing with the ups and downs of sharing parenting with an ex. I like the tip on kids storing up memories.
    Ora Lee Gurr recently posted..Minions Add Fun to Valentine’s Day

  • Toni | BoulderLocavore February 13, 2016, 11:57 pm

    I have friends who are in the same situation and would agree with your list. I’m sure it must be challenging to coparent in this situation.
    Toni | BoulderLocavore recently posted..Gluten-Free Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

  • Crystal February 14, 2016, 12:35 am

    The control freak in me would be tearing my hair out. It’s good for those experiencing parenting with an ex to know what to expect.

  • Tracey February 15, 2016, 12:47 pm

    Coparenting does not sound easy, but I love your tips. I think implementing them would make it a little easier and give you some peace of mind.

  • Olga February 24, 2016, 10:35 am

    My friend used to live and co-parent for two years with her Ex. Now they have two different lives but they are still the best friends and she can always rely on him. I’m very glad for her ))

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