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Focusing on solutions with your former spouse

The good news is that you and your ex-spouse have committed to giving your child a structured upbringing in Minnesota. The bad news is that you are not sure how to handle disputes with your former wife or husband. There will almost certainly be differences in how you two will handle rearing your offspring, which can become bitter and unproductive if not handled correctly.

You may disagree strongly with how your ex handles taking care of your child. You might feel your child is misbehaving on account of having too much leniency while staying at the other parent’s home. Perhaps you feel your child is not getting homework done when appropriate, or is indulging in too much time watching television shows or playing video games.

Psychology Today recommends that instead of making what your ex does the issue, change the focus to the child. Refrain from accusing the other parent of doing something wrong. Keep away from saying things like, “You always do this.” Instead, identify the actions of your child that trouble you and ask your former spouse what “we” can do about it.

The use of “we” is important. By making the question about what you and your ex can do collectively, you have taken the blame away from the other parent and invited your former spouse to contribute productive solutions. It also makes your ex feel more comfortable. Refraining from accusations removes a hostile environment and provides far less incentive for your ex to be defensive. Finally, it helps remind your ex that the focus of your relationship is providing a good upbringing for your child and not quarrelling with one another. 

Even if your personal relationship with your child’s other parent is sour, you can still maintain a calm, business-like relationship with that person. If you feel talking in person is too hard, Very Well Family recommends a number of online programs that you use as mediums to discuss matters with your former spouse. You can use these programs to also schedule times and dates for your children’s activities, meals, and times spent with each parent.

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