Coparenting With Someone You Hate

How do I co-parent with someone I hate? Well, that's our question today on Tips on Teens. My name
is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping
kids, teens, and families to live happier lives. I lead two organizations, Teen Therapy Center
and the nonprofit 501c3 organization Child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills,
California. Every Wednesday at noon I jump on to Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions.
Let's answer today's.

"I'm divorced and I'm struggling a lot with my parenting situation. I
have an eight-year-old son with my ex-wife whom I genuinely can't stand. Our animosity towards
each other makes co-parenting incredibly difficult. How can I navigate this and ensure that
our child's well-being remains the top priority despite our personal differences? If you
have any advice on finding common ground or establishing effective communication strategies
in such a tense co-parenting relationship I would love to hear it."

Thank you for your question. It's a big topic. We'll try to cover it all in just a few minutes.
There is an article down below In the text blurb of it if you want to read more in detail But let's
let's take a look at this Ultimately if you and your ex can't figure this out
the biggest person who's going to get hurt or the most person who hurt most is your son and He can't
control that only you and your ex control that and I would recommend hey Why don't you two get
into co-parenting counseling So you can communicate better and get along better. And that
sounds like great advice, but if it was good advice, you would have done it already and you'd
probably still be married. So it sounds like the way the two of you communicate doesn't work.
So, okay, how do you worry about, how do you, what do you do about that? It's really now focusing
on what you can't control which is you you can control you and how you Communicate with your ex
and with your son and If you're not already on a You know my parenting wizard app where basically
the court can see all your communications. It was just it was not being monitored by the court.
I encourage you to consider every written communication you have as that because anything
you say any text tirade or email blast that you send

to your ex can be used against you in the court of public opinion or possibly in litigation as
well. So every text or email, if that went viral on social media, would you be okay with that?
And not from an emotional standpoint, but from a logical standpoint. So keep all your written
communication as brief, succinct, and factual to the point with no emotions, no opinions.
If you wanted to say, I disagree with your opinion, you can say that, but I wouldn't go into insulting
or anything like that, especially in front of your kid. Because if you are insulting her or him,
whatever your situation may be, but in this situation it's a husband-wife, if you do start insulting
her she can use that against you and also if your son is hearing that now he's getting confused.
Now you may think, wait a minute, my son needs to know what a yutz my ex is, and I would say, no he
doesn't. He'll figure that out all on his own without your help. In fact, with your help, it'll
make things more muddy and more confusing.

In fact, the more you denigrate your ex, the more he may feel he needs to defend her and it may backfire
and he may resent you even more. It's really confusing for kids because you have to remember
even though you don't love your ex anymore, he still does. That's his mom and he still loves you.
And if you get into the tug of war of he has to choose sides or he has to love this parent more than
the other one, it's a horrible situation for a kid and it damages them for life. I know, I talk
to these kids all the time. So take the high road and the best way to do this is make sure you take
care of yourself. Are you in your own therapy to deal with your own anger and rage and resentment?
To make sure you can process that and put it in its place. You're not dumping it onto your kid.
You're not continuing this war with your ex. Your ex may try to do it, but if you can take the high
ground, if you cannot take the bait and stay calm and be the adult, your kid may start noticing
and seeing that and

seeing you as the safe place. Now again, you're gonna disagree with your ex's choices on parenting
and decisions and you can't control it, so don't try. Let that go and just recognize that that's
going to happen regardless of what you want. And the more you fight it, the more it's going to
give your ex ammunition and fuel to keep doing it. So it does feel like you put in a powerless place.
But again, you're doing this for your kids benefit, not your benefit. And you got to walk this
tightrope for 10 years till he's 18. Congratulations. It's tough. I'm not giving easy answers.
I'm not giving easy solutions. There aren't any in this situation. There's a reason why you
two you got divorced and that's going to stay with you guys the rest of your life because even
once he's 18 there's gonna be graduations and birthdays and holidays and engagement parties
and things like that and you're going to have to interact with this person the rest of your life.
Now as he gets older you'll have to interact

less But you still have to find a way to do it and one of you again has to be the adult and if your ex
can't be the adult, you have to be. That doesn't mean the scolding, you know, teaching adult.
That means the adult who takes the higher road and is more emotionally stable for the benefit
of your son. Again, this is a big topic. We could spend whole workshops and seminars on this topic.
So I'm just scratching the surface. Again, there's an article down below called Co-Parenting
with Your Hated Ex-Spouse that I posted many, many years ago on the website. You can read that
as well. If you have more questions, you can always email us or talk to us here at Teen Therapy
Center. My name again is Kent Toussaint. If you'd like me to answer your question here on Tips
on Teens, email us at tipsonteens at


Coparenting with someone you hate is not easy. We know it because we see a lot of families in this situation. But guess what? You gotta buck up because your hated ex spouse is going to be in your life for a long time. You’ll see them less as your kid gets older, but they’re always going to be there. So what do you do?


You’ve heard “take the high road” before right? There’s a good reason for that. If you can be the “adult in the room,” your kid will suffer less. More importantly, they’ll come to see you as a safe place. And you want them to feel that way for the sake of your relationship, and so they’ll come to you when times get tough and they need support. Going the opposite direction by denigrating your ex and dumping your emotions on your kid will only drive him/her/they away and give your ex some more ammo to use against you.


It’s not easy, and we feel for you if you’re in this situation. But you can do it. Make sure to take care of yourself by getting the emotional support you need, either through therapy or other sources. We have a great article on this topic here, and we also talk about it in this Tips on Teens:

I’m divorced and I’m struggling a lot with my parenting situation. I have an 8 year old son with my ex-wife whom I genuinely can’t stand. Our animosity towards each other makes coparenting incredibly difficult. How can I navigate this and ensure that our child’s well-being remains the top priority despite our personal differences? If you have any advice on finding common ground or establishing effective communication strategies in such a tense coparenting relationship I would love to hear it.”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.