If your estranged spouse wasn't an involved parent while you were married, don't expect him or her to change for the better after your divorce. Some non-custodial parents come to appreciate spending time with their kids when they don't have them around all the time. However, for those whose former spouses haven't embraced their paternal or maternal side, co-parenting can have challenges.
Having a hands-off co-parent can have its advantages, especially if his or her presence creates conflict. Some parents prefer not to have an ex who wants to tell them how to parent. However, a non-involved parent can place more pressure on you to provide everything your kids need. Don't hesitate to ask family members or friends whom you trust to step in occasionally to fill the gap.
Following are some tips from parenting experts for dealing with an ex who's not interested in being an involved parent.
-- Don't criticize your ex to or in front of your kids, no matter how frustrated you are with him or her.
-- Communicate in business-like terms, preferably via e-mail or text. Stick to the topic of your kids. Don't get into disputes over other issues, no matter how much your ex may press your buttons.
-- If your ex tries to make up for the lack of attention by buying your kids presents, let it go. While you may feel that you can't compete in this arena, kids know ultimately who they can turn to for stability and who is merely giving them gifts. Of course, if your spouse is going well beyond your wishes for your child (like a new BMW as a 16th birthday present), you can step in and discuss some boundaries on gift-giving.
-- Remind your ex of how important even a few extra minutes of contact a day is for your children. With so many forms of communication available, there's no reason why your ex can't have some sort of contact with the kids every day.
If your ex is living up to the child support and custody agreements, there's little more you can do to make him or her a better parent. If he or she is constantly failing to abide by the custody agreement and leaving you and your kids stranded, that's an issue you may be able to take up in court.
Source: Huffington Post, "How To Raise Kids With An Ex Who Acts And Thinks Like Donald Trump," Brittany Wong, accessed Nov. 01, 2016