Ok, most of us know how difficult and hurtful divorce can be but when coupled with having to come up with a shared parenting plan, this then pushes the whole experience to the next level.
Once the whole process is over and each parent is living in their own home, one parent might still be consumed with anger, hurt and/or resentment therefore finding it tough to move on and possibly dragging the children into the whole affair. This is when toxic parenting may seep through.
Could this be you?
1. Try and make your children choose between your ex and you?
2. Withhold access because child support has not been paid? Basically hold your child hostage? Keep in mind that this is not punishing your ex alone but the children especially.
3. Ask your child questions about the other parent's lifestyle, activities or relationships? You may think they don't realise what you're doing but they do. "I don't like mummy/daddy asking me questions about daddy when I get home," is a statement that has been uttered way too many times.
4. Discuss your personal problems and matters with your child or with someone else but in your child's presence?
5. Make promises you don't keep. If you cannot make it on Saturday, let them know. If you cannot deliver, let them know. That hurts much less than consistent disappointment.
5. Often argue with the other parent in front of your child?
6. Put down the other parent while your child is within earshot or in their presence?
7. Physically harm, hurt the other parent in front of your child?
8. Use your child as a spy, messenger or mediator, relying on him/her to solve issues between you and your ex?
Well if you answered yes to any of the above questions then be aware that you are indeed not doing your child any good, to put it mildly.
Actually I don't know why I'm putting it mildly, I'll say it as it is: You are harming your child!
Divorce is a difficult journey for most people and it can and does bring out the worst in people.
Problem is when there are children and these super negative emotions towards your ex begin to hurt your little ones through your actions and words.
I'm a strong believer in both parents continuing to play a role in their children's lives. That right there is the greatest gift that you can give your children post divorce. Unless of course there are other serious underlying issues that make it impossible or dangerous for the children to spend time with the other parent. Which is a whole other matter.
If you are co-parenting with an unhelpful and disobliging ex then read this blog on Co-Parenting with an Angry Ex.
It is possible to co-parent "nicely", it might be hard, but it's not impossible.