Sometimes it’s the family we choose the matters

I experienced a refreshing change yesterday from the usual nastiness displayed by our alienating parent on genealogical website.  If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll remember that our alienating parent became an expert genealogist — as well as an expert photographer — after she realized those were interests of mine.  And then, of course, she had to post her comments and observations on websites that I’m a member of.  And, being the narcissist that she is, her conclusions are the only possible manner in which genealogy, and photography, should be conducted.

Yesterday’s discussion was in a genealogy group and dealt with how family, and non-family, members are mentioned in an obituary.  As you may recall, our alienating parent corrected both of my in-laws’, as well as my husband’s, obituaries because people were not properly identified, or people were left out.  She had not been part of our family for decades, but still felt the need to “correct” their obituaries after they were gone because she felt they had been incorrectly written.

It was wonderful to read so many comments, written by actual genealogists, about obituaries.

Here is a sampling of the remarks:

“I think when I’m dead I will have the people I love listed however I considered them.”

“Obits are clues about relationships among people when the were alive. Obits are not DNA test results.”

I have my obit written. Friends and family are listed. Some family omitted.”

“My obituary will reflect my son by birth and my son by marriage. I am now divorced from my wife and my sons (note I said sons) are grown. My sons will be reflected in my obituary as sons. There will be no words such as “step” written. And my granddaughter will be listed as my granddaughter (not using the word step) because it’s MY obituary and it’s written to honor me and those I love who have been wonderful to me. Both sons are in my will equally and they are both my sons. If this upsets someone in the future looking at my obituary so be it. It’s none of their business.”

“While genealogy is about facts, life and love aren’t always about biological facts. They are about life and love. Yes, we like to trace facts, actually need to for genealogical accuracy so it is our job to sort it all out. However, the real stories, the real lives, loves and connections are found in the feelings of those we track. I love facts but I love the heart and stories of those I learn about. It’s about people. Emotions. The stories are what I love most and often those aren’t found in facts. My trees are first and foremost about people. I hope to leave both legacies behind.”

“My husband’s best friend will be listed as his brother. Sometimes it’s the family’s we choose that matters.

“Obits are written by a bereaved family member or friend. They are not written to benefit any genealogist. When Grandma dies her family around her, biological or not, might be listed by those who write the obit. An obituary is not a fact, it is a chronology of someone’s life, not a lineage document.”

“Write it as you wish. Tell the story of his life. Tell as much or as little as you want. Obits are not the place to give family members labels. I have at times seen step-child or adopted child mentioned, but rarely. Bottom line, you all write it any way you want to, or write none at all. No one’s business but yours.”

“Obituaries are for the survivors. The immediate grievers are the most important. Whatever will be beneficial to their healing is most important. Future generations can figure it out or not.”

There were people in the group who disagreed with the above comments, but most genealogists know that obituaries are not meant to be factual documents.  And the most pleasant part of these discussions was that fact that no one was a bully, demanding that the way they felt was the only appropriate way to feel about the subject matter.  Everyone was very respectful of other’s opinions.

In all of my dealings with our alienating parents over the past 35 years, I have never once had my opinion given merit, or respected.  But that’s what happens when you have to deal with a narcissistic, alienating parent.

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For many narcissists and borderlines, drama and conflict serve many purposes. Primarily, both conflict and drama are sources of attention and a way to keep their victims engaged. If you’re dealing with this, you know how exhausting it is. This video discusses ways you can disengage and put your focus back on yourself. Read full […]

via VIDEO: Why Do Narcissists and Borderlines Enjoy Conflict and Drama? — Shrink4Men

I Had No Reason As a Child To Hate my Dad — Parental Alienation

And so I was brought up believing that my father had cruelly abandoned, not just my mother, but also both my sister and I. “You are definitely better off without him” As I entered my late pre-teens I became more aware of my one parent status within our close-knit community. I remember our neighbours and […]

via I Had No Reason As a Child To Hate my Dad — Parental Alienation

How to deal with someone who has no moral compass?

Words ….. words ….. words …..  Our lives are filled with words.

But these words have really stuck in my mind:    How do you deal with  — or protect yourself or others — from someone who has no moral compass?

During our years of coping with parental alienation, my husband and I threw around so many words:  child abuse, narcissism, parental alienation, pathological liar … but did it really come down to these three words:  no moral compass?

Our alienating parent was a victim of child abuse, at the hands of her own father.  Is that what caused her to abuse her own children, by alienating them from their father?

Our alienating parent’s behavior is the classic example of a narcissist.  Could the parental alienation be so easily explained?

Our alienating parent has demonstrated, over a 40 year time span, that she will do whatever it takes to alienate her children from their father.

Our alienating parent has proven, time and time again, that she is a pathological liar.

But then, during a conversation with a bereavement counselor after my husband’s death, she asked me:  how can you protect yourself from a person who has no moral compass?

Unfortunately it is a fact of life:  there are people out there who have no idea what is right from wrong.  They have no moral compass.

Is it right to keep children from a parent who loves them and cares for them?  A parent who has not given any reason why they should be excluded from their children’s lives?  Or is it wrong?   Should the alienating parent — at some point — feel:  this is not right?  I should not be doing this?  What I am doing is wrong?

Our alienating parent and the child she raised — who subsequently alienated her children from their grandfather — can certainly be considered individuals who don’t know right from wrong.  Lying on tax returns; filing medical claims on an ex-husband’s medical insurance years after the divorce; attempting to collect child support for daycare, when daycare for the children is paid for by the County; lying about medical issues; lying under oath during court proceedings; going to jail for theft in office …. the list goes on and on.

Did my husband’s daughter know right from wrong when she walked into his hospice room, in the middle of the night, when he was unable to call for help — even after she knew he did not want to see her?  Probably not; otherwise, she never would have subjected him to that humiliation.  He was dying.  He made it clear he did not want to see her.  Anyone with any moral compass would have respected a dying man’s wishes.

But, in our case, we had the alienating parent being relentless in instructing her child to go against her father’s wishes, even as he lay dying.  Was that right …. or was it wrong?  Was it the result of the child abuse she suffered?  Was it because she’s an obvious narcissist?  Was it because she’s an alienating parent?

Or was it because she has no moral compass?

 

To reconcile with your children ….. or not?

This is a difficult post to write because all alienated parents hope one day to reconcile with their children.  And, in most instances, I agree that is for the best.  It’s best for the children — to have a relationship with both parents.  Of course, it’s good for the parents too.  But what is most important is the children.  They never asked to be brought into a world of arguments among fighting parents.  Children deserve to feel love from both Mom and Dad, and to feel it’s okay to love both Mom and Dad back.  There’s a security in those feelings, which every child is entitled to feel.  We are talking about innocent children brought into this world by two parents — adults who should be able to put their own feelings (anger, bitterness, jealousy, insecurity) aside to nurture their children.

And, for the children, I hope that most of you reading this continue to strive toward reconciliation with children you perhaps have not seen for many years, or children you do not have a close relationship with.

But what happens when it becomes apparent that reconciliation is not possible?   I simply wanted to write and say:  it’s okay.

It’s okay to go on and live your life — and it’s okay to enjoy that life.

Of course, I’m writing from the perspective of someone who watched the man I love endure over 30 years of on-again, off-again relationships with his children.  Our case was an extreme case of parental alienation.  My husband’s first divorce proceeding was filed in 1975, before his second child was even born, with the divorce being finalized in 1978.  Back then, the Court system was more concerned with supporting the children.  Joint custody and co-parenting weren’t even a concept.  You had the custodial parent, and you had visitation with the non-custodial parent.  Period.

So keep that in mind when you read the rest of this post.  For those of you currently going through difficulties maintaining a relationship with your children as a direct result of parental alienation, I urge you to keep fighting.  I know we have a long way to go toward equality in parenting after a divorce, but headway is being made.  Keep fighting the fight.

But ……. if you come to a point when you feel it’s simply hopeless, or there are extenuating circumstances ….. and you finally decide, enough is enough ….. it is okay.

In our particular case, as I mentioned before, the divorce took place in the 1970s.  My husband and I met in 1983, and married in 1984.  I had two children from a prior marriage, and so did he.  My ex had taken off and was never to be seen again ….. his ex was doing everything in her power to destroy the relationship between her children and their father.

I’ll spare you all the gory details, but the years of dealing with our alienating parent can be found here:  Our Journey Through Parental Alienation

Fast forward to the year 2008.  The “children” are adults and have children of their own.  My husband always hoped that once the children were adults and no longer under the control of the alienating parent, he would have a better relationship with them.  Unfortunately, that just wasn’t meant to be.  We would see them.  We wouldn’t see them.  The youngest daughter took on many of the characteristics of her mother, and began deciding who was welcome in our home, and who wasn’t.  She would decide when her father could see his grandchildren, and when he couldn’t.  She had to be in control.  When he finally realized he was going to be going through the exact same thing with his grandchildren, that he had gone through with his own children, he said:  enough is enough.

It was a difficult decision, but — in our respective situation — it was the right decision.  It was like a weight had been lifted from my husband.  He knew he had done all he could, and he was able to live with that decision.  There were no more arguments, no more awkward family get-togethers.  It was a good time for my husband.

And, selfish though it may be, I’m glad he had that good time.  Because in 2015, he was told he had a brain tumor and had two to five years to live.

When looking death in the face, I’m sure there are a number of ways a person can react.  My incredible husband never once felt sorry for himself.  He chose to live his remaining years enjoying his family, friends and his favorite hobby:  old cars.  Even when he could no longer drive, we would hop in his 1970 Cadillac — with me behind the wheel — and tool down the road, listening to some oldies.  Negativity and drama were not allowed in our house!

My husband did reconcile with his oldest daughter before his death.  She was such a blessing to us in his final years.  He did not, however, want to see or speak to his youngest daughter.  Some may not agree with that decision, but it was his decision to make — and his alone.  He was the one whose life was ending.  Who are we to tell him how he should think, act or feel?  Anyone who loved and cared about him respected his wishes.

Thinking about others — as my husband so often did — he even made sure that all of our paperwork was in order so that I would not have to deal with his daughter after he was gone.   He was adamant that he did not want to see her, and he was equally as adamant that I would not have to see her after he was gone.  After all of the court battles he had experienced with his ex-wife, the last thing he wanted was for me to have another court battle with his daughter in Probate Court, so he made certain that everything was in order.  That was just one of the many, tiny things he did to make things better for me, because he knew he wouldn’t be around to take care of me, or protect me, for much longer.

I’m mourning the man I lost, but I’m also remembering his smile, and the laughs and good times were shared.  Yes, it was a tragedy to lose so many years with his children, but he made the best of it.  He left behind a legacy of love, strength and compassion.  Those are the things I remember about him.

Even in the face of parental alienation and grandparent alienation — my husband lived his life to it’s fullest, and he lived it well.  He was an amazing example of how to live your life in the face of adversity.  And I urge those of you who are reading this:  no matter what life holds in store, love those who love you and make the most of what life has given you.

Parental / Grandparent Alienation …… The big question is Why?

My last post got me to thinking:  how can someone hate another so much that they would be willing to harm their own children in order to hurt their former spouse, or their own father?

In our particular case, our targeted parent endured being alienated from his children and then — no surprise — from his grandchildren.  Because, you see, his own daughter followed in her mother’s footsteps and kept her children from her father, just like she had been kept from him.

And I can’t help buy wonder …… why?  As I pointed out in my previous post:  there is nothing normal about having ill will and hatred toward people who have never harmed you or your children.

So why did our targeted parent’s daughter make the decision to keep her children from her father?  He had never harmed her, and certainly had never harmed her children.  Just like he had never harmed his ex-wife, and had never harmed his children.  So what was the justification for the actions of these women?

Perhaps the daughter behaved like she did because that is what she was taught as a child herself?  She learned, from a young age:  if you’re angry, punish the person who made you angry.  And how best to punish a loving grandparent?  By keeping him from his grandchildren.

Looks like I just answered my own question, doesn’t it?

What are “The Best Interests of the Child” when a divorce occurs?

So many parents say:  “I’m putting my children first” after a divorce, but in actuality, how many honestly do that?

How many parents put their own feelings of anger, jealousy and loneliness aside and nurture their children’s relationship with their former spouse?  The wants and needs of the grown adult parent should not be put before the wants and needs of children who are simply trying to grow up in today’s world as best they can.  Making it more difficult for them by keeping them from a loving, caring parent is one of the worst things a parent can do …… yet it happens so often.

I watched first hand as an incredible father was denied a relationship with his children for many, many years.  The mother always pretended to put her children first.  But what was she protecting them from?  A father who loved, supported and cared about them?  There was no need for “protection” from this hard-working, dedicated father.  Obviously, the mother was more concerned about her feelings, which is the only reason the children were kept from their father.  She was angry.  She was jealous.  She was lonely.  For those reasons — and those reasons alone — the children were not permitted to see their father for extended periods of time.

It’s time for our courts to overhaul the theory of “best interests” of the children when there is no reason for the children to be kept from one parent due to the anger and insecurities displayed by the other parent.

It’s time to honestly put the children first!

Dealing with a Pathological Liar

Dealing with a pathological liar, and how it affects their children:

Pathological lying is not an official medical diagnosis, yet the term is often used to describe people who exhibit excessive and compulsive lying on a regular basis. Parents who are referred to as pathological liars may suffer from additional mental health issues such as personality disorders, low self-esteem or a desperate need for approval. Pathological liars often speak without thinking, and convince themselves that their lies may in fact have happened. Exhibiting a compulsive behavior such as lying to or in front of children has negative ramifications.

Awareness:  Children of preschool age may already be aware that their parent has trouble telling the truth. The small child may decide that they cannot trust their parent and be confused about mixed stories and messages. Child care providers and preschool may reinforce the value of honesty, yet at home, the child observes their parent engaging in undesirable lying behavior.

Parenting Skills:  Pathological lying affects the ability to be a consistent parent. A parent who lies may change his or her story or sequence of events, therefore reducing the effectiveness of household rules and a child’s sense of stability. Research reveals that inconsistent parenting produces negative behavioral issues for children, as they do not learn proper limits or consequences. In addition to creating household instability, a parent that compulsively lies is modeling a very negative behavior.

Learned Behavior:  Parental pathological lying can become a learned behavior for children. Children and teenagers model the behavior they see their parents exhibit and also learn they can get away with it. By looking up to a pathological liar as a role model, the child or teenager gives him or herself permission to act this way themselves. Pathological lying can become a part of a dysfunctional family dynamic passed down to younger generations. When a parent is identified as having an issue with compulsive lying, it is recommended that children be counseled about the negativity of this behavior, before they emulate it.

Covering Up Issues:  Some compulsive liars may lie in order to cover up past issues or hide current problems from their family. For example, a gambler or alcoholic may consistently lie about their whereabouts or how they spend money. Other pathological liars may be hiding serious issues such as past or current abuse. Regardless of the reason, lying to mask a problem, affects the ability to treat the underlying issue. A parent who is lying to cover up a problem such as drinking, is avoiding treatment, thus causing additional pain for their family and children.

[Source:  howtoadult.com — Effects on Children Whose Parent Is A Pathological Liar by  Cassandra Gailis]

How Narcissists Play the Victim and Twist the Story — Parental Alienation

While delusion is more of an internal process, lying and denial is often in the context of other people. Regular people deal with their problems by themselves, internally. Or they discuss it in a very private setting: in therapy or among very close, healthy people. Narcissists don’t have people like that in their life and […]

via How Narcissists Play the Victim and Twist the Story — Parental Alienation

SEVERE: Obsessed alienators — Parental Alienation

Originally posted on Parental Alienation: Obsessed alienators operate from a delusional system where every cell of their body is committed to destroying the other parent’s relationship with the child. In the case of the Obsessed alienator, no treatment exists other than removing the child from their influence. Here are some scenarios that could be by…

via SEVERE: Obsessed alienators — Parental Alienation

How to Co-Parent with a Controlling Ex

For those parents struggling with exes who use the kids as pawns.

By:  Mel Hearse [https://www.kidspot.com.au]

Shared parenting can be hard work. There’s getting through the breakup while keeping your kids best interests at the forefront, waving them off to their other parent’s home to spend time without you.  There’s the making tough parenting decisions while you’re no longer together.

But what happens when one half of the equation is not only failing to meet you in the middle, but actively making it as difficult as possible?

Worst case scenario

The recent Kidspot story of the mother co-parenting with a narcissist was a thing of nightmare worst case scenarios. And there’s no shortage of parents out there struggling through sharing their precious cargo with a person that willingly uses their children as a pawn to control or punish them. How can you realistically work with this from your end to best protect your children? It’s a very complex dynamic

“Broadly, this behaviour is abusive, and is not an uncommon part of what is experienced by many women who have left abusive partners,” says CEO of Relationships Australia’s Elisabeth Shaw.

She says a controlling partner will continue to use any means to enact the control, from the point of separation. “This could include the date, arrangements and separating of assets in moving out, it can be during a protracted process of family mediation or holding up the ability to get to mediation, through to the frustration of any arrangements agreed to as part of family orders,” she says.

Think of the children

Children are very alert to being used as pawns, and to their parents being unhappy or angry, says Elisabeth. However much the controlling parent might try and co-opt them into their mindset, over the course of time many children will see the behaviour for what it is and resent it.

She says parents who are constantly arguing and distressed, especially at handover or in relation to money, have also have a hugely damaging effect in their children.

The children’s own requirements are over looked and they can feel the cause of their parent’s unhappiness, however much they are reassured otherwise. This means that their own mental health and wellbeing is compromised.

Some realistic advice

Given none of us a superhuman, here’s some realistic advice from Elisabeth to help your kids – and yourself, navigate the experience. It can feel like you have very few options. If you show your children all the examples and give them a counter argument, you might feel like you are trying to manage injustice responsibly, but children can in fact experience that as being in the middle of opposing points of view rather than (as you might hope) a perspective on ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, says Elisabeth.

Sometimes to manage your children’s well being, even if you know what your partner is up to, if it doesn’t hugely hold up your life and the children seem oblivious, there are times it will be best to let it pass, she advises. If you feel the children are affected, then talking to your ex, and asking for counselling or mediation is important.

Counselling is useful for children, counsellors can see them with you, as a family or even on their own. This is a safe space for them to talk to someone neutral, without fearing they’ll hurt your feelings. They’ll also see counselling as a useful tool later in life if they find themselves struggling.

“Involving a family therapist to get the children’s perspective and wishes is important, so that it is not one parent against and another; instead for have some objective assessment of their reality,” she says.

Self-management

In terms of self-management, it is important to get clear about your own values and principles, and measure your behaviour against that.

Elisabeth suggest sitting down and working through a range questions: ‘How do I separate out the hurt I experienced in the relationship and separation from my children’s right to an ongoing, happy experience with the other parent?’ ‘What sort of parent do I want to be?’ ‘What can I stand for as a parent?’ ‘How can I really know what is in my children’s best interests (even though I tell myself that is what drives me?)’

“If you are dealing with this situation, seeing someone yourself to help you evaluate what to tolerate and manage, versus when to intervene – including going to court – can really assist. Controlling behaviour can really mess with your head, and is extremely wearing over time if it is relentless. Having a neutral person in your corner is an important survival technique,” she says.

When one parent feels jealous of or threatened by their children’s love for the other parent after divorce

Children need to feel it’s okay to love both parents.  When the parents are happy and together, there is rarely jealousy or one parent feeling threatened by the children’s love for the other parent.  But when a divorce occurs, that often changes.

Why would one parent feel threatened when their child loves the other parent?  Jealousy is a possible reason.  Jealousy arises when one parent feels insecure.  Abandonment is another possible reason for jealousy between divorced parents.

“When a divorcing parent feels jealous and insecure, he or she often attempts to control the other spouse’s relationship with their children.  However, the more a divorcing spouse tries to control how the other parent deals with their children, the more resentful the other parent will become.  The divorced parents’ relationship deteriorates and creates more insecurity, forming a negative cycle that just makes the jealousy worse.  The solution is for the jealous parent to stop trying to control the other parent and allow him or her to discipline the children without being second guessed.”  [Source:  Jealousy Between Divorcing Parents and Children by Harry Munsinger, J.D., Ph.D.]

It’s easy to say a parent needs to put the children’s well-being, and many parents manage to do that, before, during and after a divorce.  And to those parents:  I applaud you.  To the others, however, who let their insecurities, need for control and jealousy outweigh the needs of their children before, during and after a divorce, I would urge you to please, stop and think of the damage that is being done to your children.

Children need both parents.  They need to feel it’s okay to love both parents, and want to spend time with both parents.  Don’t just say: I’m putting my children first.  Actually do it!  Your children will thank you!

THE UNCOOPERATIVE CO-PARENT

By Donna Ferber

When going through a divorce, keeping your children’s well-being in the forefront of your mind is critical. Whether the children ultimately have an experience that is traumatic or manageable is a direct result of how well their parents’ behave. Some parents even stay together “for the sake of their children” but their behavior is so appalling that the kids beg their parents to split up. Whether you stay together or not, your children learn from and emulate your behavior. You are role models for healthy relationships.

Your commitment to protect your children from divorce acrimony is tested when you find yourself in the throes of splitting property and assets. You are exhausted, stressed, worried, and patience is at a premium. The ends of your conviction begin to fray as hostility escalates. If you are embroiled in bitter exchanges over issues of child support, visitation, parent styles and custody, these “hot buttons” often explode into gut wrenching arguments and negotiations seem become impossible. At this point co-parenting becomes the lightening rod for all unsettled issues.

There are basically three major situations that impair cooperative co-parenting- First, when the co-parent is truly not fit*, second, when there is parental alienation*, and third when a co-parent is simply uncooperative (in most cases this manifests as unreliable or controlling).

All of these are crazy making and huge topics. For the sake of this article, let’s assume we are dealing with an uncooperative parent- that is someone who is basically a good parent but with whom you have a horrific interpersonal post spousal relationship.

Left over marital issues such as bitterness, resentment, betrayal, hurt and disappointment can linger long after the legal dust has settled. Parenting then becomes the venue for the continuing unresolved battle. For example, consider the parent who brings the child back 30 minutes late from visitation. That thirty minutes isn’t hurtful to the child, but drives the other parent crazy. The frustration and screaming that ensues is what damages the child. The parent who is repeatedly late is sending a message-you can’t control me and I don’t respect you. The parent who screams back says your technique is working!

Even if only one parent can distinguish between left over spousal power struggles and truly child centered issues, this awareness can foster significant changes in the co-parenting dynamic. While it is easy to focus on the deficits of the other parent, never lose sight of your own part in the interaction. Everyone knows the vulneralbe spots in their ex-spouse. Steer clear of them in your co-parenting interaction.

When negotiating with your co-parent keep in mind that good parenting exists on a continuum. There are the relaxed, easy going parents and on the other end of the spectrum is the more organized, structured type. There is a lot of room for variance on that continuum. Of course, a super relaxed style becomes neglectful and the super organized style can be abusive. Remember, no two people parent exactly the same way, but that doesn’t make them bad parents. Keep your perspective.

Sometimes it seems that even good parents can’t co-parent no matter how hard one or both of you may try. Perhaps these acrimonious relationships serve a purpose-that is, they reassure the couple that they did the right thing in splitting up. Sometimes it seems people need to hang on to the anger to justify their choice. Other times, spouses feel that if they let go of their anger, they are in some ways sending a message that they have accepted the others transgressions. Perhaps, they are locked in a power struggle because they felt powerless in the marriage. Lastly, some people are just incompatible and bring out the worse in each other. Regardless of the reason for the continued acrimony, you have a responsibility to your children to put their needs first and take the high road. Your children will thank you for it.

The following can help you remain steady and focused on child centered issues when dealing with your uncooperative co-parent.
  1. Recognize you can’t change another person. Stop trying to change your co-parent and he/she will (eventually) stop trying to control you.
  2. Keep your marital relationship issues separate. Divorce may be about “winning”, co parenting is not. The good co-parent relationship is about being able to decide together what is best for your children.
  3. Give up the need to get his/her approval, to prove you are right, to get an apology.
  4. Stick to the topic as hand. Keep it simple.
  5. Avoid words like “always” and “never”. They diminish your conflict resolution skills by globalizing the issue.
  6. Keep the conversations in the present. Do not bring up the past.
  7. Leave sarcasm at the door. Pissing someone off never got them to agree with you.
  8. Don’t get defensive or side tracked. If your co-parent is a dirty fighter- bringing up the past, calling you names, blaming, don’t get sucked into the fray.
  9. Focus on your kids needs not your own.
  10. Don’t play games. Be as accountable, responsible and reliable as you want your co-parent to be.
  11. NEVER fight in front of your children, or involve them in any way in the conflict. This includes bad mouthing, sarcasm and even eye rolling.
  12. Stay calm. Don’t raise your voice, even if your co-parent is screaming. Remember you do not have to emulate another person’s behavior. Raising your voice will escalate the acrimony.
  13. It really does take two to fight. If your co-parent tries to bait you, ignore it and go back to #4.
*If you feel your children are really at risk because your co-parent is reckless, involved in drinking, drugs, is emotionally or physically abusive to your kids, take immediate action and get legal help. Don’t try to handle it yourself. Remember your children have rights and one of those is to grow up protected and safe.