Speak no evil
Do not speak ill of your spouse to your children, and don’t put them down in front of the kids. You may feel that your ex ruined your life, took advantage of you, is the worst person in the world. However, this is the mother or father of your child, and your ex is a part of them. Saying unpleasant things about your ex is like saying unpleasant things about your kids, and can make them feel put in the middle of your disagreements. In fact, if you can find an opportunity to point out some of your ex’s positive attributes, this can have the opposite effect. Complimenting your ex is really complimenting your children – they got some good traits from both parents, and reminding them of that will make them feel good.
Put down the weapons
If your ex is being unkind, irrational or downright mean, don’t rise to the occasion. Just leave it, walk away and say you will discuss it later. This is an opportunity to diffuse a bad situation and gain control of the situation. Flying into hysteria can hurt your chances at custody later; hurling your sharpest words at your ex is not worth it.
Be willing to bend
Switch visitation nights if your ex is in a bind – taking a team mentality to parenting is still what will best serve your children. If your ex is struggling, you do not want your kids to feel like a burden. Be gracious and say you would love to have them, and offer a
compromise. Eventually you might need a favour and a bit of good will goes a long way.
This one might be the hardest, because it means going beyond politeness. Going out to say hi to your ex when they pick up the kids, or helping the kids pick out their birthday present, are ways to show your children how they ought to treat others, and handle challenges with grace.