Ex vs. Ex. Which parent will the children choose to live with?

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Children who don't want to deal with consequences so they live with the parent who doesn't give them any









Many feelings surround me as I write this post but the one feeling that takes over all the others, is hurt.

It makes me stop and think, did I do something wrong or could I have done anything different?

The answer is, no.

Most kids use the parents against each other because they are looking for sympathy.

They want their parents to loosen the reins on the punishment or on a rule that they don’t like or think is fair.

Instead of accepting what they did is wrong and dealing with the harshness of realities such as rules, they simply choose to go to a place they don’t have to follow those rules.

Of course this is easier. We all wish we could go to this magical place. For most children, it exists with one of their parents.

This is why co-parenting in every situation would be awesome!

Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You


As most of you know co-parenting is not always possible.

There are some parents out there that work together to find a common ground for the benefit of their children and their are some that banish it like the plague.

I wish that co-parenting was possible in all cases but when reaching out to some ex’s, it’s almost like you tried to start WWIII.

Co-parenting would be great if possible, however some people are still either stuck on the divorce or stuck on finding the approval of their children.

All parents want to do is what’s in the best interest of their child and working together as a united front would be in the best interest of any child.

Some find that gaining the approval of their children is more rewarding to them than actually parenting them.

When the kids are younger one must parent, not be their child’s besty.

The War

The war between parents. Which parent does the child like best? The mother or the father.

In the end this is what it boils down to.

One parent sets rules and the other parent doesn’t (the besty), of course the child will want to live with the parent with no rules or less strict rules. Pick me, pick me!

As the rule setting parent you look back and think to yourself, what did I do wrong?

You sit and think and then you think some more but eventually you come up with nothing because in reality you didn’t do anything wrong.

All you did was be the best parent that you could be.

You cared for your child so much you wanted them to get good grades, didn’t want them to stay out too late, and you want them to learn good morals.

In the end it didn’t matter what you wanted.

What matters most to a teenager is what they wanted at that point and time. Most don’t care who they hurt in their path as long as they are getting those reins loosened.

Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You


Most teenagers, I would say, are selfish.

Along with this selfishness they try to see how many buttons they have to push in order to get what they want.

This is where the parents come into play.

The child knows at an early age which parent they can manipulate over the other.

This is where you need to stop them, both parents need to, not just one.

You are the parent, they are the child.

You make the rules and they need to follow those rules.

As parents, playing war on who won the popularity contest is not in the child’s best interest.

Dis-servicing your children

Winning the popularity contest is really just dis-servicing your children because you are not doing it for the child, you are winning for yourself.

In most situations, children of divorced parents will get what they want because their parents will cave in at some point.

A lot of divorced parents feel that it’s their fault that the child is going through this rough time in their lives because they feel bad about the divorce.

Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You


This isn’t true.

It has nothing to do with the divorce and everything to do with being a teenager.

Just ask any other parent that isn’t divorced.

The only difference is those kids have no place else to go. Their stuck with both parents, co-parenting.

They don’t have an escape route.

Parenting Styles

There are a few different parenting styles but the one that you should be achieving is the one that benefits your child for the better.

You DO NOT want:

  • Your child to better like you over your ex. (a.k.a. win the popularity contest)
  • Suffocate them so they can’t breath.
  • Neglect them so they think you don’t care.
  • To avoid setting boundaries or discipline so they lack social skills and have insecurities

You WANT the following:

  • Be the authority figure in your child’s life.
  • Have high expectations for them.
  • Show them understanding and support for those high expectations.
  • There should be consequences that are understood and followed through.
  • And most importantly, the lines of communication should always remain open.

Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You

Reaching Adulthood

If this continues into adulthood, those children, will not do well out in the real world.

There are a lot of employers out there that are getting sick and tired of the millennial children thinking that the world owes them something.

Their employment doesn’t last very long because they can’t handle dealing with the stress, the rules, and deadlines that are out there to keep a full time job.

Most of it has to do with showing up on time or just showing up at all.

A great work ethic is becoming a thing of the past.

Keep Your Cool

If things do go south and the children start yelling and tell you that they hate you, don’t take it personally.

They are in a heat of rage and upset with the situation.

For the most part, this is the situation that they put themselves into.

Keep your cool and keep an open mind.

If they choose to live at one house over the other because of consequences, or lack there of, they will regret it in the future.

Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You

I will leave you with a couple of stories.

When I was in high school my younger stepsister didn’t want to live with us because at her mom’s house she could do what she wanted.

Her mom was a parent that didn’t set many boundaries or discipline.

Her senior year of high school she moved in with her dad full time and it has now been over two years that she has spoken to her biological mom.

My stepsister grew up and realized what kind of person her mother really was.

My cousin has a similar story with her stepson.

He wants to go to his mom’s house to see his brothers after school but wants his dad to come and pick him up before five so he doesn’t have to see his biological mom.

In both of these instances the child chose to live with the parent who had very few rules but in the end, it didn’t matter.

Now I know that this isn’t going to always be the case but we can only do our best as parents and stepparents.

Every parent loves their child and wants what’s in their child’s best interest, however they are children, they don’t always know what their best interest is.

That is why we have parents.

It’s having a mother and father that show the child support and work together, to the best of their abilities.

Which parent will the child choose to live with

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