My ex is a Really Crappy Parent! What Can I do to Change Them? (Pt 1)

A picture of the back of a teenager's head - he's wearing gamer headphones and staring at a game on a computer screen.
Does your ex let the kids stay up all night playing Fortnight? Or give them junk food for every meal? Co-parenting can be very hard!

This is a question we hear a LOT! People who divorce their spouses because they can’t stand each other any more, battle it out over how gets the kids and how often, and then resent the fact that they have to coparent with an ex they despise. We get it. It’s an incredibly frustrating situation. 

You weren’t happy in your marriage, and now you’re stuck trying to parent your children properly while your rotten ex still has influence and input in their lives. You want them to be kinder, or maybe more structured. To honor a schedule, or perhaps let the kids have less freedoms. So we’re sorry to have to tell you this, but the truth is – you can’t change your ex.

Now, before you get mad and leave, hear us out…

Over the years there have been many studies done proving that children do better when they have relationships with both parents. Which is why here in the mid-Michigan family courts, judges usually grant joint custody to divorcing couples with children whenever possible. Yes, there are situations where that isn’t possible (like in situations where there are allegations of abuse, or schedules just don’t work out.) 

So in most cases, if both parents claim to want their children, the courts usually want both parents equally involved. (Remember – we’re discussing physical custody here, not legal custody. That’s almost always awarded jointly in Michigan.) The point here is that unless your ex has done something to make them a danger to your children in the eyes of the court, you may not be able to avoid co-parenting with them in future.

You can’t change other people, no matter how hard you try!

This is the part you’re going to be unhappy about hearing, but it’s the truth. You can’t change other people. The only person you can change is yourself. So while you can spend years being mad at someone else for their perceived shortcomings, the reality is that there’s nothing you can do about it. So wouldn’t it make more sense to focus your time and energy on you, and on the people you love? 

If you’re stuck co-parenting with an ex you aren’t on the same page with, don’t waste your time trying to change the way they raise your kids. (Because it’s exactly that – a waste of your time!) So what can you do in this situation? Lots. Join us next time for a look at some parenting strategies and coping skills you can develop to help you work through this difficult situation and come out stronger, with well raised kids.

One thing you CAN control is who helps you with your divorce process.

There are a lot of things you can’t control in life, but one thing you do get to choose is you represents you during your divorce. If you have any questions about your divorce or custody situation here in Michigan, give us a call at 866 766 5245 to speak with one of our top rated family law attorneys

Regardless of how complicated or frustrating this feels right now, you do have options, and you do have rights. We’ve helped hundreds of clients with their family law complications over the decades and we can help you too.