How can I avoid letting the bitterness between me and my ex affect our children?

How Can I Avoid Letting The Bitterness Between Me And My Ex Affect Our Children? How Can I Avoid Letting The Bitterness Between Me And My Ex Affect Our Children?
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Press Association
I’ve recently split acrimoniously from the father of my two young children. How can we co-parent without letting our bitterness affect our kids?

Psychologist Kate Daly, co-founder of the tech-enabled divorce service amicable, says: “When a divorce has been acrimonious and left the parents pitted against each other, it can make the thought of co-parenting feel impossible.

“If you’re in a situation where things have become difficult, [you can] help shelter your children from the bitterness.

“Respond, don’t react – the thing I tell people most often is, just because someone sends you an angry text or email, doesn’t mean you have to react. You can choose to wait until you’re in a good space to deal with it. If you can unhook yourself from reacting and choose how to respond instead, you’ll diffuse your relationship. Keep responses brief, factual and polite.


“Create a parenting plan. Co-parenting isn’t the same as parenting. It has different rules of engagement. If you can agree how you’re going to engage with each other and how you want to parent your children, you can record these agreements in a parenting plan. Agreeing these things before you hit problems will help avoid conflict and upset. Start with something you think you have similar views on, something uncontentious. There are apps you can use to help you, or you can contact a parenting coach or mediator.


“Don’t expect perfection. Like any new skill, co-parenting will take some practice, so don’t be too hard on yourself, or your ex, if you don’t always get it right. Try and acknowledge the things you do both get right.

“The more you focus on the things you do well, the quicker the relationship will start to feel better. If you need personal support to help put the divorce behind you, speak to a counsellor.”

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