Keeping Your Kids Out of the Middle: Co-Parenting with Someone Who Hurt You

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question: “How do I co-parent with someone who hurt me?” Parenting is difficult enough without having to worry about your kids getting caught in the middle of a co-parent situation. It’s a tough one, but there are some steps you can take to keep your kids out of the middle. Keep reading for my top 5 tips!

What Is Co-Parenting?

Co-parenting is sharing the responsibility of raising a child with another person. This can be between two married parents who got divorced or unmarried partners who decide to have children together and stay in an ongoing relationship until their kids are raised. Parents might co-parent for many reasons, including:

  • They live close to each other.
  • Responsibility issues (one parent has more time, one parent wants less involvement)
  • Family dynamic (children living with a single parent, etc.) Keep reading! You’ll find my top tips below.

There are many reasons why parents might choose co-parenting, but what you want is for both of the adults involved in raising your children to be loving and supportive role models. Through co-parenting, parents can remain involved in their children’s lives while simultaneously helping them maintain loving relationships with both of the adults. Children who can have a relationship with each parent tend to feel more secure and experience less stress due to higher self-esteem.  

Sharing custody of the kids can be exhausting, infuriating, and stressful. You may be concerned about your ex-partner’s parenting skills, stressed by financial issues, or worried about the conflict between the two of you. It also seems impossible to overcome resentment for everyone to get along again. Nevertheless, it is crucial to make shared decisions and interact with each other at drop-offs for the well-being of your children.

Tips on How to Make Co-Parenting Work with Someone Who Hurt You.  

“Keep your kids out of the middle” is a common phrase that you might hear from parenting experts or therapists, but what does it really mean? In reality, co-parenting with someone who has hurt you shouldn’t involve putting your children in the middle. Co-parenting is difficult for many divorced parents. However, with some work and dedication, it can be done successfully.

  • Separate your personal relationship from the co-parenting one. If you want to be successful co-parents, it’s vital that your relationships with each other stay separate from the one between parents. You should try thinking of yourself and your ex not as a couple who used to date but instead as two people trying their best for their kids’ sake. Start thinking of this as a completely new bond that’s about your children above all else.
  • Keep communication honest and consistent. Consider how you can communicate with your ex to ensure your child’s well-being. Before contacting them, ask yourself how you can ensure they have a positive experience and resolve to conduct yourself in a dignified manner. Make sure children are always at the forefront of all conversations when communicating with an ex-partner. Keep communication with your ex as simple and positive as possible. In cases where your child’s safety or well-being is at risk, it might mean having frank discussions about unacceptable behaviour on their part so they can understand better why certain actions are wrong and hurtful. Being straightforward and honest about significant concerns is crucial to both your relationship with your ex-spouse as well as the children’s well-being.Honesty is something vital when co-parenting with someone who hurt you, because it allows both parents to be upfront about what they are feeling as well as how it impacts them emotionally, physically, mentally, etc. Being honest isn’t just beneficial for yourself, but also for your kids, since they can learn from this example, too.
  • Co-parent as a team. Keeping a united front is essential when co-parenting to keep communication open between parents. Be adaptable if you have to be, but try not to give up on what you believe in for the sake of getting along with the other parent. When it comes to significant decisions, you and your ex should work together so that both of you are involved in the decision-making process.  Keep children’s needs a priority. Be respectful and learn to compromise. 
  • Keep your kids out of the middle. Try not to let the conflict between you and the other parent affect your children. Remind yourself that it is your issue, not your child’s. You may never be able to completely let go of your resentment over your break-up. Still, you can keep those feelings in one box and remind yourself that they are just issues that shouldn’t affect the children. Avoid involving your children as messengers between you and your ex, as this may give them reasons to choose sides.  If they are constantly choosing sides, this can cause anxiety for both children and adults when there’s a conflict between their parent figures.
  • Keep visits consistent and make them a normal part of your life. Help your children anticipate change by helping them pack and letting them know beforehand what they should expect during the visit. Keep your expectations simple and be flexible if plans change. Keep things predictable but not too rigid. You and your ex should work together to make visitation a positive experience for all.

Children are highly impressionable, and they want to please both parents. I think it’s better to keep kids out of the middle because they often feel like their loyalties must lie with one parent or another (even though they love them both), and it can be stressful for them. Remember that when you’re co-parenting, your child needs to know what is going on so they don’t feel left out or become anxious about the situation. Keep an open mind about creating new boundaries if co-parenting together could benefit your whole family. It takes two willing parties to make something work, so be patient and kind during the process.

The best way to keep your kids out of the middle is by not allowing them to see their parents fight. It’s difficult for children to understand what’s happening when they can’t hear or see both sides. One thing you may want to do to help prevent this from happening is communicating with each other via email, text message, and so on instead of yelling at one another face-to-face. Also, if you need time away from your ex (whether because they have hurt you or because they have caused you pain), ask for some space before dumping all over their heads about how much pain they have caused; everyone knows that there are two sides to every story!

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this article helpful in understanding how to keep your kids out of the middle when it comes to co-parenting with someone who hurt you. Comment below and let us know if any other tips have helped you. Or help a friend out and share this article!



I'm a Mom of two daughters, Freya and Ava. I love to share insights on how parents can be better parents. I write about topics that are relevant to me as a parent: things like parenting style, relationship, marriage, and balancing work and family.

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