How to Raise Children With A Hostile Ex-Husband

By Flora Richards-Gustafson
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Divorce is one of the toughest challenges that a family can face. A divorce under civil terms is hard enough, but raising children with a hostile ex-husband can make this life event seem overwhelming. An August 2013 article in the “Daily Mail” shares that the animosity that follows a breakup when children are involved can leave deep emotional scars that last a lifetime. When an ex-husband has some form of custody or visitation privileges, a low-contact relationship with that individual may be best.

Step 1

Communicate via email. When you talk on the phone to an ex who is hostile toward you, he may try to drag you into an unnecessary argument. A "Huffington Post" article, What to Do When Co-Parenting Doesn't Work by Virginia Gilbert licensed marriage and family therapist, recommends limiting your communications to email and text messages, unless there is an emergency. When you communicate in writing, you can focus better on the message that you want to deliver and you can reread it before clicking "Send."

Step 2

Set boundaries. If the children's father doesn’t seem to know how to police his actions around you, set boundaries about what’s appropriate and what’s not. Boundaries may include meeting your ex at a public location instead of your home, contacting the children via the home telephone or your cell phone instead of through a child’s cell phone and not using the children as messengers.

Step 3

Don’t argue in front of the kids. If you need to discuss a matter of importance with your ex, consider having an intermediary present, like a family counselor or a mediator. If your former spouse tries to start an argument with you when the children are present, do not respond. It's better to walk away. If he threatens litigation, simply tell him to talk to your attorney.

Step 4

Don’t force the children to choose sides. Kids love both their parents and may have a hard time understanding the nature of the divorce. Avoid saying anything negative about your ex-husband, their father, to the kids, even if they say that your ex-husband said something negative about you. If your children say something positive about your ex-husband, simply acknowledge their happiness instead of making a negative remark in return.

Step 5

Make a custody schedule. If the courts awarded joint custody, make a custody schedule that’s specific and leaves no room for exploitation. A custody schedule without clauses that leave undefined visitation times may be best.