Building a better relationship with your ex for the sake of your child

Building a Better Relationship with Your Ex for the Sake of Your Child

Maintaining a positive relationship with an ex-partner for the well-being of a shared child can be a challenge. This article offers practical advice on fostering healthy co-parenting relationships, effective communication, setting healthy boundaries, and navigating co-parenting with a difficult ex.

Additionally, the article emphasizes the benefits of therapy to help manage co-parenting-related stressors, improve communication skills, provide healthy coping strategies and offer legal insights

Table of Contents

Avoid Speaking Negatively About Your Ex

Maintaining a positive relationship with an ex for the sake of a child can be tough, but speaking negatively about your ex can be damaging to your child’s emotional well-being, as it creates a difficult situation for them.

The key is to keep your child’s overall well-being in mind and work towards co-parenting effectively. This means avoiding vilifying your ex, refraining from bringing up past mistakes, or using your child as an emotional outlet.

Foster a Positive Relationship Between Your Child and Ex-Spouse

One way to help your child navigate a difficult time is by fostering a positive relationship with your ex-spouse. Remember, your child is part of both of you, and they’d benefit greatly from a supportive environment that encourages them to see things from both points of view.

While you may have differences with your ex and things may not have worked out as planned, it’s essential to refrain from burning bridges and respect the strong bond between a child and their parent. Avoid pressuring the child to take sides to prevent putting them in a difficult position.

Communicate Openly and Honestly with Your Child

Offering unconditional love and support to your child is essential. At the same time, it’s critical to model acceptance and vulnerability when co-parenting, showing that it’s okay to be vulnerable, and that you’re trying to navigate a difficult situation.

Be supportive and let your child express their feelings. Above all, avoid asking your child to spy on your ex.

Avoid Putting Your Child in a Difficult Position

It’s vital that parents respect their child’s need to love and spend time with both parents. Show your child unconditional love and support, avoid pressuring them to choose, and respect their emotions and needs.

It’s normal to feel hurt, resentful, and angry, but ultimately, it’s best for the child if parents put their differences aside and work together. Remember, regular exchanges of custody should be punctual, and clear communication must be established to help reduce tension and confusion.

Effective Co-Parenting

Co-parenting can be challenging, but it’s crucial to prioritize your child’s happiness. Despite the changes, your child still deserves the love and support of both parents.

Use the tips above to build a positive and healthy relationship with your ex-spouse that centers on your child’s needs.

Therapy for Successful Co-Parenting

Introducing the importance of therapy for successful co-parenting can be a great tool in developing a deeper and healthier relationship with your ex-spouse.

Co-parenting can be a challenging experience, given the struggles involved in managing your emotions and maintaining a positive relationship with your ex. While the guidelines mentioned so far will help establish a healthier co-parenting environment, therapy can help you develop and maintain a positive mindset for the long run.

Here are some ways therapy can support you as you navigate co-parenting:

Therapy can help you manage co-parenting stressors

Co-parenting can raise frustrations and stressors, even when you’re doing everything right. A therapist can give you a safe space to discuss your challenges and find solutions for addressing difficult emotions and managing co-parenting-related pressures.

In therapy, you can learn stress-reducing techniques and focus on establishing healthy boundaries. You can also learn more about ways to communicate better with your ex-spouse and address challenging emotions constructively.

Therapy can improve communication skills

One of the most significant components of successful co-parenting is open, straightforward communication. A therapist can help you develop active listening and assertive communication skills, learn to receive feedback and criticism more constructively, and stay engaged in constructive conversations.

Therapy can provide healthy coping strategies

Therapy can help you stay adaptable in the midst of a challenging situation, build resilience, and develop healthy and adaptive strategies to cope with the emotions and the changes associated with co-parenting. This includes promoting emotional, behavioral, and cognitive flexibility.

Therapy can help you work on establishing healthy boundaries

Developing healthy boundaries is critical when co-parenting, and therapy can be an excellent resource for learning strategies that work with your difficult ex-spouse. A therapist can assist you in understanding the nuances involved in setting boundaries to avoid manipulation, control, and belittlement.

A licensed family or co-parenting therapist can provide legal insights around the intricacies of co-parenting. The therapist may help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a co-parent, assess and identify common legal predicaments and feel confident in discussing them with a divorce professional.

Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

Co-parenting with a narcissist can be particularly challenging, and require a unique approach. Here are some tips on how to navigate a co-parenting relationship with a narcissistic ex.

Set Boundaries

Setting and maintaining boundaries is crucial, particularly when co-parenting with a narcissist. It is essential to establish clear boundaries on what you will and will not tolerate.

A therapist can help you draw and maintain those boundaries.

Reduce Contact

Reducing contact with a narcissist can be difficult, especially as they may always feel the need to have control over the situation.

Therefore, communicating only through text or email should be established. The less contact there is, the less likely they’ll be able to manipulate or control you.

Focus on Your Child

One of the most important things to do is to focus on what’s best for your child. Make parenting decisions based on what will benefit your child, not on trying to please your ex-spouse.

If your ex-spouse is unable to differentiate that, show your child kindness, consistency, and understanding.

Use a Third-Party Coordinator

A neutral third-party professional like a mediator can facilitate communication and help find solutions that are in the best interest of the child if personal communication is impossible, especially dealing with someone who is control-hungry.

Don’t Give In to Your Ex-Spouse

When co-parenting with a narcissist, they may try to gaslight, blame, or deflect responsibility. Don’t let them get into your head or make you second-guess yourself.

It’s also important not to get into power struggles with them. If possible, communicate through a third-party or a judge to avoid falling prey to their manipulations.

Don’t Make Your Child a Middleman

When co-parenting with a narcissist, it’s easy to vent your frustration to your child, but it’s not healthy for them. Don’t bring your child into the middle of your disagreements or arguments.

Doing so can put undue emotional strain on your child.

Implementing these tips can go a long way in reducing tension and promoting good communication, enabling you to build a better co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse.

Remember that the goal is to create an environment that is suitable for the emotional well-being and success of your child above all else.


Co-parenting can be challenging but critical when separating or getting divorced with shared children.

Building an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse is essential, not only for the well-being of your child but also for co-parenting success. Foster healthy relationships between your child and your ex-spouse, communicate effectively, maintain healthy boundaries, and avoid putting your child in a difficult position.

Remember, the primary objective is to develop a supportive and healthy co-parenting environment suitable for your child’s emotional well-being and success.

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