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Co-parenting with an ex-partner who has mistreated you can feel like walking through a minefield, where every step is fraught with the danger of explosive emotions and hurtful words. It’s a constant battle to stay composed, to hold back the hurt and anger that threaten to spill over, and to put on a brave face for your children. You feel like a juggler, trying to balance your own pain and frustrations with the needs of your children, all while trying to maintain a fragile peace with your co-parent.

The anxiety and stress that come with co-parenting can be overwhelming. You may find yourself dreading every interaction with your ex-partner or second-guessing every decision you make. But despite the difficulties, you know that you must continue to work with your co-parent to provide a stable, loving environment for your children.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some tips on how to be kind to a difficult co-parent, drawing inspiration from the Bible. By putting the needs of our children first and leaning on our faith for guidance and strength, we can navigate the challenges of co-parenting and create a more positive, respectful relationship with our ex-partner.

kind to co-parent

Why You Should Be Kind To A Difficult Co-parent

As Christians, we are called to love and serve others, even those who mistreat us. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This can be challenging, especially when we are dealing with a difficult co-parent who has caused us pain and frustration. However, it’s important to remember that by being kind and respectful to our co-parent, we are setting an example for our children and reflecting God’s love and grace.

In addition, being kind to a difficult co-parent can help create a more positive co-parenting relationship. By showing understanding and empathy, we may be able to reduce tension and create a more cooperative environment for our children. This doesn’t mean that we have to ignore or condone negative behavior from our ex, but rather that we can choose to respond with grace and kindness instead of anger and bitterness.

Finally, being kind to a difficult co-parent can also help us find peace and healing in our own hearts. Holding onto anger and resentment towards our exes can be toxic and can prevent us from moving forward in our own lives. By choosing to forgive and show kindness, we can release that burden and find healing and freedom. As it says in Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

RELATED: The Best Biblical Solutions for Handling Injustice in Co-parenting

Navigating Co-Parenting As A Christian Single Mom: How To Be Kind To A Difficult Ex-Partner

1. Forgive Them

One of the most important things you can do as a single mom co-parenting with a difficult ex-partner is to forgive them. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you forget what they’ve done or that you condone their behavior, but it does mean that you let go of the anger and bitterness that you may be holding onto. As the Bible says in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Forgiveness is an act of kindness that benefits both you and your co-parent. Holding onto anger and bitterness only harms you and your relationship with your children. By forgiving your co-parent, you can let go of that anger and bitterness and move forward in a more positive way.

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2. Pray for your co-parent

One of the most powerful things you can do as a single mom co-parenting with a difficult ex-partner is to pray for them. Prayer can help to soften your heart towards your co-parent and can also help to improve your relationship with them.

As the Bible says in Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” It can be difficult to pray for someone who has mistreated you, but it can also be a transformative act of kindness. Pray for your co-parent’s well-being and for their relationship with your children. Ask for guidance and strength to be kind and patient with them, even when it’s difficult.

3. Don’t Gossip or Talk Bad About Them

I have to admit, I still need help with this one because I often find myself gossiping about my ex to my family or friends whenever he does something I don’t agree with. I am trusting God to help me honor Him with my words and to love others as He loves them.

As Christians, we are called to avoid gossiping or badmouthing our ex-partners, even if they have mistreated us. Proverbs 16:28 warns that “a perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends.” Badmouthing your co-parent can damage not only your relationship with them but also your children’s relationship with their other parent.

To resist the temptation to gossip or badmouth your co-parent, try to keep these tips in mind:

  1. Pray for your co-parent: When you find yourself feeling angry or hurt by your co-parent’s actions, take a moment to pray for them instead of gossiping or venting to others. Ask God to help you see them with compassion and to give you the strength to extend grace and forgiveness.
  2. Focus on the bigger picture: Remember that the ultimate goal of co-parenting is to provide a healthy, stable environment for your children. Keeping this goal in mind can help you avoid getting caught up in petty arguments or disagreements with your co-parent. Instead, focus on what you can do to make your children’s lives better and foster a positive co-parenting relationship.
  3. Seek support from trusted sources: Instead of venting to friends or family members who may be biased or who could potentially spread rumors, seek out a trusted counselor, therapist, or support group to talk through your feelings and concerns. This can provide you with a safe space to express yourself and gain perspective, without the risk of damaging your co-parenting relationship or your children’s well-being. As it says in Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Seeking support from wise and compassionate sources can help you navigate the challenges of co-parenting with grace and wisdom.

4. Focus on the positive

When co-parenting with a difficult ex-partner, it can be easy to focus on their negative qualities and behaviors. However, it’s important to remember that everyone has positive qualities too. Focus on your co-parent’s strengths and positive traits, and try to acknowledge and appreciate them. As the Bible says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

5. Show empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When dealing with a difficult co-parent, it can be easy to become defensive and focus solely on your own feelings. However, showing empathy towards your co-parent can help to improve your relationship and make co-parenting easier.

As the Bible says in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Showing empathy towards your co-parent means acknowledging their feelings, even if you don’t agree with them. By doing so, you can build a more positive relationship and make co-parenting less stressful for everyone involved.

6. Communicate effectively

Effective communication is key to successful co-parenting, especially when dealing with a difficult ex-partner. It’s important to remember that communication doesn’t just mean talking, but also listening. As the Bible says in James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

When communicating with your co-parent, try to remain calm and avoid becoming defensive. Listen to what they have to say, even if you don’t agree with them. Remember that your ultimate goal is to do what’s best for your children, and effective communication is crucial in achieving that goal.

7. Set boundaries

While it’s important to be kind to a difficult co-parent, it’s also important to set boundaries. Boundaries help to protect you and your children and can help to improve your relationship with your co-parent in the long run.

As the Bible says in Proverbs 22:3, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Setting boundaries means recognizing potential danger and taking steps to protect yourself and your children. For example, you may need to set boundaries around communication, such as only communicating through email or text messages. By setting boundaries, you can make co-parenting less stressful and more manageable.

RELATED: How To Set Communication Boundaries While Co-parenting With A Difficult Ex

8. Practice patience

Patience is a virtue that is especially important when dealing with a difficult co-parent. It can be frustrating when they don’t respond to your messages or follow through on their commitments, but practicing patience can help to improve your relationship with them. As the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:8, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”

9. Be respectful

Respect is key to any healthy relationship, including a co-parenting relationship. Even if your ex-partner has mistreated you, it’s important to treat them with respect. Use polite language and avoid name-calling or derogatory remarks. As the Bible says in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

10. Express gratitude

Expressing gratitude can go a long way toward improving your co-parenting relationship. When your co-parent does something that you appreciate, let them know. This can help to build goodwill and improve communication. As the Bible says in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

11. Keep your children’s best interests in mind

Finally, always keep your children’s best interests in mind when interacting with your co-parent. Remember that your children love and need both of their parents and that your relationship with your co-parent has a big impact on their well-being. As the Bible says in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

RELATED: Embracing Faith in Co-parenting: 18 Bible Verses to Renew Your Hope and Motivation

Wrapping Up…

Co-parenting with a difficult ex-partner can be a challenging journey for any single mom, but as Christians, we are called to respond with kindness, love, and forgiveness. By following the teachings of Jesus and reflecting on His love and grace, we can create a more positive co-parenting relationship, set an example for our children, and find healing in our own hearts. It may not be easy, but with faith, prayer, and the support of our community, we can navigate this journey with grace and strength. Remember, it’s not about being perfect, but about striving to live out our faith and show love to those around us.

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11 Useful Tips for Demonstrating Kindness to a Challenging Co-Parent

be kind

Apr 17, 2023

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