Co-Parenting With an Unreasonable Co-Parent / by Cassandra Hearn

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The time following a divorce or custody dispute can be emotionally complicated for both parents.  Even though the case may have been about child custody, there are often complex relationship and personality issues that play into how the parents will deal with the new custody order and the new standard of living apart.  Regardless of the anger or resentment, the parents must learn to co-parent to the best of their ability in an effort to do the best for their child.  Unfortunately, there are sometimes that the other co-parent may be unreasonable.  There are some techniques you can employ to assist in smoothing the way to a better co-parenting relationship.


One common behavior seen from unreasonable co-parents is to blame every negative behavior of the child on you.  For example, if the child is acting out in school, an unreasonable co-parent may immediately assume that you are the one not following the proper schedules or not following appropriate parenting techniques.  The unreasonable parent in this situation is likely to make heated accusations and do what he or she can to get a rise out of you.  Do your best to ignore all personal attacks.  Nothing will be gained by engaging in a dramatic and personal argument.  Instead, propose a solution that would directly address the child’s behavioral issues.


Another behavior you may observe with an unreasonable co-parent is refusal to communicate.  It is not uncommon for an unreasonable co-parent to go completely silent and stop responding to requests for communication.  In this case, you should lead by example.  Continue to calmly continue to communicate necessary information regarding the child and hopefully the unreasonable co-parent will follow your lead.


Finally, unreasonable co-parents often exhibit the unfortunate behavior of speaking badly about you in front of the children.  This does not always come in the form of direct statements made to the children, but could be statements made to another adult but loud enough for the child to hear, or even acting angry or put off when the child talks about you.  All of this behavior is extremely damaging to children.  If this is occurring, you may want to discuss family counseling for the unreasonable parent, the child, and you.  A professional third party may be able to explain to the unreasonable co-parent why their behavior is bad for the child, but also what you can do to help alleviate the effects.


We have extensive experience assisting clients with unreasonable co-parents.  Call us today so we can talk about how we can protect you and your children.