Ruth Hawkins, Founding Partner

Co-parenting tips.

Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne LLP

Regardless of whether you are married, divorced, or separated, co-parenting is never easy when you and other parent have different ideas and views surrounding parenting.

It can become extremely challenging when you have separated, and you may not be on good terms with the other parent.

If your ex is continuously ignoring your requests to cut down on extravagant gifts or treats and isn’t respecting your opinions, consider these suggestions:

  • Don’t let fears of not being considered the ‘fun one’ or the ‘good cop’ influence how you parent.
  • Even if it feels like your ex is deliberately disregarding everything you’ve discussed and is still showering your child with gifts, don’t let the frustration get the best of you.
  • The unbiased opinion of a neutral party can be extremely helpful. They have the ability to look at the situation from a different perspective.
  • If your ex has a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve, he or she is more likely to try the same or similar approach. It is important to try to discuss these issues calmly, so maybe try to find a good time (and place) to do this, away from distractions. (I appreciate that is hard at the moment, due to Lockdown and Covid rules.)

Discuss the reasoning behind the boundaries that you’d like your ex to also consider.  It’s also important to listen to what they have to say.

This will also make them feel like they are a part of the solution without thinking you’re attacking them

  • As soon as possible, clearly tell your child that some parents have different rules.

It’s okay for parents to have special traditions as long as your child doesn’t come home with those same expectations.

Depending on how out of hand things get, you should initiate discussion.

This can be difficult with exes, but it’s also incredibly important.

If they’re doing things to deliberately undermine your parenting capacity, find a time away from your child to go over what’s bothering you.

  • Don’t take it out on the child: Don’t punish your child or badmouth your ex in front of your child whenever he or she is treated to something extravagant.

It isn’t your child’s fault that they are coming home with expensive gifts or experiences.

You don’t want them to feel put in the middle or that they can’t enjoy their other parent’s kind gestures.

  • Don’t spend all of your energy constantly trying to control what your ex does or doesn’t do.
  • If you can’t get your ex to cut back on the spending sprees, try positively reinforcing key values, like helping others, doing schoolwork, and jobs around the home.

If this is still not helping, consider trying to discuss your conflicting parenting approaches, somewhere neutral, possibly in family mediation.

It is far better to try to reach an agreement about your parenting, than for relationships to break down or for one parent to feel that matters have reached the stage where court proceedings are needed.

For further information please contact our team about this and family law issues by contacting BH&O either by telephone or by email 

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Articles by Ruth Hawkins