Co-parenting can be a difficult adjustment, for both yourself and your children. You may still be emotional about the split, and it can be difficult to not let those emotions get in the way of your ability to co-parent.

As tempting as it may be to have your children take sides or do things to get back at your ex, it’s never a good idea. Dr. Phil has made some suggestions on what NOT to do when co-parenting:

  • Sabotaging your child’s relationship with the other parent.
  • Using your child as a pawn to “get back at” or hurt your ex.
  • Using your child to gain information or to manipulate and influence your ex.
  • Transferring hurt feelings and frustration towards your ex onto your child. (You may be particularly prone to this if your child bears physical or behavioral resemblances to your ex.)
  • Forcing your child to choose a side when there’s a conflict in scheduling or another planning challenge.
  • Turning family events attended by both divorced parents into pressure cookers. Events that call for sensitivity includes birthdays, holidays, school programs, extracurricular activities and performances.
  • Depending too much on your children for companionship and support because you’re hurt and lonely and have adopted a siege mentality: “it’s us against the world.” This isn’t a healthy position for either you or your child to adopt.
  • Treating your child like an adult because you’re lonely or just want help. It is inappropriate to give your child an adult job.
  • Becoming so emotionally needy that your child develops feelings of guilt if he or she spends time or even wants to spend time with your ex, friends, grandparents, or others.
  • Converting guilt over the divorce into overindulgence when it comes to satisfying your child’s material desires.

Although co-parenting may sometimes be overwhelming, remember not to take out your frustrations with your ex on your children. Use tools that can help you and your ex communicate to the best of your abilities, such as email correspondence, or a co-parenting online calendar.

Watch for our coming blog post “How to Co-Parent Successfully” for additional tips on co-parenting.


Ken is the founder of Burton Attorneys at Law and finds the challenge of practicing law extremely rewarding. Although Ken has a broad assortment of experience ranging from bankruptcy to civil litigation to criminal law, Ken’s practice is tailored almost exclusively to the area of family law.

He chose to practice in the family law arena because of the positive and direct impact for good he saw in the lives of his clients.

Having twice been named one of Utah’s Legal Elite by Utah Business Magazine, Ken has a solid reputation as an effective advocate for his clients. He is actively involved in local and state bar associations, serves on various boards of directors and with volunteer organizations, and as a mentor for newly admitted attorneys.

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