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Involving Your Ex

Ideally, after a divorce both parents will continue to play an active role in their child's life. To prevent any lingering hostility from getting in the way of this goal, here's how you can help keep your ex connected:

Be positive Try to see him as the parent of your kids (rather than the person you divorced), and just concentrate on the qualities you respect. If the two of you are still having a hard time, "try parenting classes, therapy, or co-parent counseling," says Trinidad Madrigal, a child-custody expert and lead attorney for the San Mateo County (California) Department of Child Support Services. The key is to focus on the best interests of your children.

Encourage participation Think of activities you both want the kids to do-such as going to the library or the zoo -- and then decide who will take them where. (Be sure to divide the fun equally.)

Synchronize schedules After separating, it's important to keep working together. Agree upon guidelines for buying gifts and going on vacation. Coordinate events, such as teacher conferences, so you're both involved as much as possible. "No matter how you may feel about him, give him as much time with the kids as you can," says Kathryn Moir of Oakland, CA, who overcame her desire to cut her ex-husband out of parenting. "My children love me for that, and they love their father for staying in their lives."

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