Single motherhood






Hi, I'm a Kenyan-born, Colorado-based single mom to twins Hodari and Milambu. I turned the challenges of single motherhood into a thriving YouTube community and blog. Here, I offer support and practical advice on parenting, lifestyle, and more. Let's navigate life's complexities together!


more about me

single motherhood





When co-parenting with a toxic ex, it’s easy to let the pain and challenges of the situation cloud our judgment. The wounds from a toxic relationship can run deep, leaving us with lingering emotions and a strong desire to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, this self-preservation instinct can sometimes lead us astray, causing us to make decisions that prioritize our own well-being rather than those guided by the best interests of our child.

Co-parenting with a toxic ex-partner is an uphill battle, filled with emotional landmines and constant tension. It can be a minefield of conflicting emotions, where anger, resentment, and hurt intertwine with the responsibility of nurturing and protecting our child’s well-being. The wounds of the past can easily overshadow our ability to make rational choices that truly benefit our child.

But here’s the truth we must confront: our children are the innocent victims caught in the crossfire. Their happiness, stability, and emotional growth should always remain our top priority. While it may be tempting to seek revenge or protect ourselves at all costs, it is crucial to rise above those instincts and make decisions guided by the best interests of our child.

In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies and practical tips to help you navigate the complexities of co-parenting with a toxic ex while prioritizing your child’s well-being. It’s time to shift the focus away from our own pain and challenges and channel our energy into creating a nurturing and supportive environment for our children, even in the face of toxicity.

Toxic ex

Signs of a toxic Co-parent

Co-parenting with a toxic ex-partner can be emotionally draining and detrimental to your child’s well-being. Understanding the signs of toxic behavior is the first step in navigating this challenging situation. Here are some common signs that may indicate you are dealing with a toxic ex-partner:

  1. Manipulation: A toxic ex-partner may use manipulative tactics to control and influence the co-parenting dynamic. They might try to guilt-trip you, make false accusations, or twist facts to serve their own agenda.
  2. Verbal abuse: Harsh criticism, belittling remarks, insults, or derogatory language are all forms of verbal abuse commonly associated with toxic behavior. Such toxic language can undermine your confidence as a parent and have a lasting impact on your child.
  3. Lack of cooperation: A toxic ex-partner may consistently refuse to cooperate or engage in collaborative decision-making. They might intentionally sabotage plans or ignore agreed-upon arrangements, causing unnecessary conflict and disruption.
  4. Constant conflict: Toxic individuals thrive on conflict and may create a hostile environment whenever possible. They may provoke arguments, escalate minor issues, or engage in power struggles to maintain control and exert dominance.
  5. Emotional instability: Erratic mood swings, unpredictable behavior, and emotional volatility are common traits of toxic individuals. This instability can create an unsettling and unpredictable environment for both you and your child.

Impact of toxic behavior on Children

Exposure to toxic behavior can have profound and long-lasting effects on children. It is essential to recognize the potential impact on their emotional and mental well-being. Here are some ways toxic behavior from an ex-partner can affect your child:

  1. Emotional distress: Witnessing conflicts and experiencing the fallout of toxic behavior can cause significant emotional distress in children. They may feel anxious, confused, and torn between parents, leading to heightened stress levels and emotional instability.
  2. Low self-esteem: Toxic behavior often involves criticism, belittlement, or undermining the child’s self-worth. Constant exposure to such negativity can erode their self-esteem and create self-doubt, making it challenging for them to develop a positive self-image.
  3. Difficulty forming healthy relationships: Growing up in a toxic environment can hinder a child’s ability to form healthy relationships in the future. They may struggle with trust issues, have difficulty establishing boundaries, or fear emotional vulnerability due to past experiences.
  4. Emotional and behavioral problems: Children exposed to toxic behavior may display emotional and behavioral problems. They may become withdrawn, exhibit aggressive behavior, or struggle with anger management. Additionally, they may experience difficulty regulating their emotions and have challenges in social situations.
  5. Academic performance and concentration issues: Toxicity within the co-parenting relationship can negatively impact a child’s academic performance. The stress and emotional turmoil can lead to difficulty concentrating, decreased motivation, and a decline in overall academic achievement.

Recognizing these signs of toxic behavior and understanding the potential impact on your child is crucial. By being aware of these dynamics, you can take proactive steps to prioritize your child’s well-being and minimize the negative effects of a toxic ex-partner’s behavior.

RELATED: The Best Self-Care Practices While Co-Parenting With A Toxic Ex

How To Prioritize Your Child’s Wellbeing While Co-parenting With A Toxic Ex

In the following section, we’ll discuss different strategies you can use to prioritize your child’s well-being while co-parenting with a toxic ex.

1. Create a Safe, Nurturing, and Stable Environment for Your Child

When co-parenting with a toxic ex becomes challenging or impossible, it is crucial to take proactive steps to create a safe, nurturing, and stable environment for your child. While you may not have the luxury of a cooperative co-parent, there are still ways to prioritize your child’s well-being on your own. Here are three key strategies to focus on:

1. Promote Consistency and Routine

Consistency and routine provide children with a sense of stability and predictability, which can be especially beneficial when dealing with a toxic co-parent. Establish consistent daily routines for your child, such as regular mealtimes, bedtimes, and homework schedules. Consistency can help your child feel secure and reduce their stress levels.

Create a structured environment by implementing consistent rules and boundaries. Clearly communicate expectations and consequences to your child, reinforcing the importance of following rules both at home and in other settings. By maintaining a consistent and structured environment, you can provide a stable foundation for your child’s emotional and psychological well-being.

2. Create a Supportive Network for Your Child

While a toxic ex may not be cooperative or supportive, you can create a network of positive influences for your child outside of the co-parenting relationship. Seek out family members, close friends, or mentors who can act as a support system for your child. These individuals can provide emotional support, guidance, and a sense of belonging.

Encourage your child’s involvement in activities and organizations that align with their interests. Enroll them in extracurricular activities, sports teams, or community groups where they can connect with like-minded peers and positive role models. By building a supportive network, you can provide your child with additional sources of love, care, and encouragement.

3. Encourage Open Dialogue and Emotional Expression

In a toxic co-parenting situation, it becomes even more essential to create an environment where your child feels safe expressing their emotions and concerns. Encourage open dialogue by actively listening to your child, providing a non-judgmental space for them to share their thoughts and feelings.

Validate your child’s emotions and let them know it’s okay to express themselves. Help them develop healthy coping mechanisms by teaching them techniques such as deep breathing, journaling, or engaging in creative activities. By fostering an environment of emotional expression, you empower your child to navigate their emotions in a healthy and constructive manner.

While co-parenting with a toxic ex can be incredibly challenging, it is still possible to create a safe, nurturing, and stable environment for your child. By promoting consistency and routine, creating a supportive network, and encouraging open dialogue and emotional expression, you are laying the foundation for your child’s well-being and resilience. Remember, you are the primary advocate for your child, and your efforts to prioritize their needs will make a lasting impact on their growth and happiness.

RELATED: How To Protect Your Emotional Well-being While Co-Parenting with a Difficult Ex

2. Put Your Child’s Needs First

When co-parenting with a toxic ex-partner, it can be easy to get caught up in personal conflicts and emotions. However, it is crucial to always put your child’s needs first. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Think about the bigger picture

Remember that your child’s well-being is the top priority. It’s important to rise above personal grievances and focus on what is truly in the best interest of your child. Consider the long-term effects of your actions and decisions on their overall development and happiness.

2. Understand how your actions in co-parenting affect them

Recognize that children are highly perceptive and sensitive to the dynamics between their parents. Even if you believe you are shielding them from the toxic behavior, they may still be impacted by the tension and negativity. Take a step back and assess how your actions and words may influence your child’s emotional state and self-esteem.

3. Make decisions for their benefit, not yours

Co-parenting requires making numerous decisions together, ranging from daily routines to major life choices. In each instance, prioritize what will truly benefit your child rather than catering to your own desires or frustrations. Consider their needs, preferences, and overall growth. This mindset ensures that your decisions are focused on nurturing their well-being and promoting a healthy and stable environment.

Remember, your child is innocent in the dynamics between you and your ex-partner. They deserve to have their needs met and to grow up in a nurturing and loving environment. By consistently putting their needs first, you demonstrate your commitment as a caring and responsible parent.

3. Shield Your Child from Toxicity

Shielding your child from toxic behavior becomes even more challenging when the toxic ex-partner is unable or unwilling to co-parent effectively. In such situations, it is crucial to take proactive steps to limit your child’s exposure to toxicity and equip them with the necessary coping mechanisms and resilience to navigate difficult circumstances.

Limit exposure to toxic behavior:

  1. Restructure communication channels: If direct communication with the toxic ex-partner proves consistently toxic or unproductive, explore alternative communication methods. Consider using a neutral third party, such as a trusted family member or friend, as a go-between for necessary co-parenting communications. This intermediary can relay important information without exposing your child to toxic exchanges.
  2. Utilize written communication: When direct communication cannot be avoided, rely on written methods such as email or text messages. These forms of communication provide a record of interactions and limit the potential for manipulation or verbal abuse. Maintain a professional and focused tone, strictly addressing matters related to the child’s welfare and avoiding personal conflicts.
  3. Set boundaries and enforce them: Establish clear boundaries with the toxic ex-partner regarding visitations, pick-up/drop-off protocols, and communication guidelines. Clearly define expectations and consequences for violating these boundaries. Consistency in enforcing boundaries will help protect your child from unnecessary exposure to toxic behavior.

Teach coping mechanisms and resilience:

  1. Encourage emotional expression: Create an environment where your child feels safe expressing their emotions. Encourage them to share their feelings with you or other trusted individuals in their support network. Teach them healthy ways to process and manage emotions, such as through journaling, art, or physical activities.
  2. Foster problem-solving skills: Teach your child problem-solving techniques to navigate challenging situations independently. Help them identify solutions, weigh the pros and cons, and make informed decisions. Building their problem-solving skills empowers them to handle conflicts and challenges with resilience.
  3. Develop a support network: Surround your child with positive influences outside the co-parenting dynamic. Encourage them to form relationships with trusted relatives, friends, mentors, or even professional counselors who can provide guidance and support. Having a strong support network will give your child additional sources of emotional support and perspective.
  4. Focus on self-care: As a parent, prioritize your own self-care and demonstrate its importance to your child. By taking care of your own well-being, you role model healthy coping mechanisms and resilience. Show your child that it is possible to maintain one’s mental and emotional balance even in challenging situations.

Remember, while shielding your child from toxic behavior may be more difficult without a cooperative co-parent, it is not impossible. Through strategic communication choices and by empowering your child with coping mechanisms and resilience, you can minimize their exposure to toxicity and create a healthier environment for their well-being.

RELATED: How to Set Boundaries while Co-Parenting with a Difficult Ex

4. Set Effective Boundaries

1. Establish Clear Communication Guidelines

One of the crucial steps in co-parenting with a toxic ex-partner is establishing clear communication guidelines. Toxic behavior often thrives on miscommunication and misunderstandings, leading to unnecessary conflicts that can harm your child’s well-being. By setting clear boundaries and guidelines for communication, you can minimize misunderstandings and reduce the potential for toxic behavior to escalate.

Consider using written communication methods like email or dedicated co-parenting apps to document conversations and maintain a record of interactions. This approach provides a level of accountability and can serve as evidence if conflicts arise in the future. Ensure that your communication remains focused solely on matters related to your child and avoids personal attacks or unnecessary confrontations.

It may be helpful to establish specific times or channels for communication to avoid constant interruptions or unexpected confrontations. This allows you to control the flow of communication and ensure that it remains productive and child-centered. By setting clear communication guidelines, you create a structured environment that reduces the likelihood of toxic behavior affecting your child’s well-being.

2. Implement a Structured Parenting Plan

A structured parenting plan is an essential tool for minimizing conflicts and promoting stability in co-parenting with a toxic ex-partner. By having a well-defined plan in place, both you and your ex-partner can understand and abide by the agreed-upon arrangements, which in turn reduces the opportunities for toxic behavior to arise.

Work together with your ex-partner to create a detailed parenting plan that encompasses visitation schedules, holidays, decision-making processes, and other essential aspects of co-parenting. Ensure that the plan prioritizes your child’s needs and interests above all else. This collaborative approach allows both parents to have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, minimizing potential disputes.

Incorporate flexibility into the parenting plan to account for unexpected situations or changes in circumstances. However, it is crucial to strike a balance between flexibility and consistency. Flexibility should not be a gateway for toxic behavior or manipulation. Clearly define the parameters within which flexibility can be exercised to ensure the well-being of your child remains protected.

Regularly review and update the parenting plan as needed, especially when significant changes occur in either parent’s life. Open communication and cooperation are vital for the successful implementation of a structured parenting plan. By adhering to the plan and keeping each other informed, you create a more stable environment for your child, shielding them from unnecessary conflicts.

3. Seek Professional Assistance if Necessary

Navigating a co-parenting relationship with a toxic ex-partner can be emotionally draining and challenging. In some cases, seeking professional assistance may be necessary to ensure the well-being of both you and your child. Professional counselors, therapists, or co-parenting mediators can provide valuable guidance and support during this difficult journey.

Consider engaging in co-parenting counseling or therapy sessions with a neutral third party who specializes in working with families facing toxic dynamics. They can help you develop effective communication strategies, manage conflicts, and find constructive ways to co-parent despite the toxicity. This professional support can provide you with the necessary tools to navigate challenging situations and protect your child’s emotional well-being.

Remember, seeking professional assistance is not a sign of weakness or failure; it is a proactive step toward prioritizing your child’s well-being. Professional intervention can offer you a safe space to express your concerns, gain insights, and learn strategies to cope with the toxic behavior of your ex-partner.

RELATED: How to Build a Positive Co-Parenting Relationship: 15 Elements to Follow

5. Build a Positive Co-parenting Relationship

1. Adopt a Business-Like Approach

When co-parenting with a toxic ex-partner, it is crucial to adopt a business-like approach. Treat your interactions as professional exchanges focused solely on the needs of your child. Remove personal emotions from the equation and approach discussions with a calm and composed demeanor. By treating co-parenting as a business partnership, you can maintain a level of detachment that helps mitigate potential conflicts.

Establishing clear boundaries is essential to maintaining this business-like approach. Clearly define roles and responsibilities, and communicate them in a respectful manner. Keep discussions focused on practical matters related to your child’s well-being, such as schedules, health, education, and extracurricular activities. Avoid engaging in personal attacks or rehashing past grievances, as this only perpetuates the toxic dynamics.

2. Keep Interactions Child-Centered

One of the keys to successful co-parenting is keeping the focus firmly on your child. Regardless of your feelings towards your ex-partner, your child’s well-being should always take precedence. Ensure that all decisions made and actions taken revolve around what is in the best interest of your child.

Maintain open and transparent communication about your child’s needs, experiences, and milestones. Share important information promptly and be willing to collaborate on decisions that affect your child’s life. Keep the lines of communication open but concise, sticking to essential details rather than engaging in lengthy conversations that may invite toxicity.

Consistency between households is also crucial for your child’s well-being. Strive to establish similar rules, routines, and expectations in both households to create stability and minimize confusion. This will help your child feel secure and adapt more easily when transitioning between homes.

3. Celebrate Joint Successes

It is essential to acknowledge and celebrate joint successes as co-parents, no matter how small they may seem. Recognize and appreciate moments when you and your ex-partner effectively work together for the benefit of your child. This can be as simple as coordinating a successful school event, attending a parent-teacher meeting together, or supporting your child during a milestone or accomplishment.

Celebrating joint successes sends a positive message to your child, highlighting the importance of teamwork and cooperation. It also helps foster a more amicable co-parenting relationship by shifting the focus from conflicts to shared accomplishments. By acknowledging and expressing gratitude for each other’s contributions, you create an environment that encourages collaboration and reduces toxic interactions.

Remember that building a positive co-parenting relationship takes time and effort from both parties involved. Stay committed to prioritizing your child’s well-being and approach the relationship with empathy and understanding. Your child deserves a nurturing and supportive environment, and by working together, you can create a positive co-parenting dynamic that promotes their overall happiness and development.

Utilizing the strategies outlined in this blog post, such as adopting a business-like approach, keeping interactions child-centered, and celebrating joint successes, you can pave the way for a healthier co-parenting relationship, even in the face of toxicity.

RELATED: How to Build a Positive Co-Parenting Relationship: 15 Elements to Follow

6. Utilize Legal Resources and Support

1. Understand your rights and options

When co-parenting with a toxic ex-partner, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with your rights and explore the legal options available to you. Each jurisdiction may have specific laws and regulations regarding child custody, visitation rights, and parental responsibilities. Educate yourself about the legal framework that governs co-parenting arrangements in your area.

Research and understand your rights as a parent. This includes knowing the legal rights and responsibilities of both you and your ex-partner. Being well-informed empowers you to make informed decisions and take appropriate action to protect your child’s wellbeing.

Additionally, it is essential to be aware of any specific provisions or court orders in your co-parenting agreement. Understanding the terms and conditions outlined in the agreement ensures that both you and your ex-partner are held accountable for fulfilling your obligations.

2. Consult with an attorney if needed

If you find yourself in a particularly challenging or contentious co-parenting situation, seeking legal advice and representation may be necessary. An experienced family law attorney can provide valuable guidance and help you navigate the legal complexities involved in co-parenting with a toxic ex.

Consulting with an attorney allows you to discuss your specific circumstances, concerns, and goals. They can assess your case, provide insights into the legal options available, and guide you in developing a strategic approach to protect your child’s wellbeing. An attorney can also advocate on your behalf during negotiations, mediation, or court proceedings, ensuring that your rights and your child’s best interests are properly represented.

Remember, involving legal professionals should be a last resort when all other efforts to co-parent effectively and ensure your child’s well-being have been exhausted. However, in situations where the toxicity escalates, your child’s safety is compromised, or there is a need for legal enforcement of the co-parenting agreement, seeking legal support can be crucial.

7. Focus on Your Own Well-being as a Parent

1. Practice self-care and stress management

When co-parenting with a toxic ex, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily challenges and forget to take care of ourselves. However, prioritizing your own well-being is essential in order to be the best parent you can be for your child. Practicing self-care and stress management techniques can help you navigate the difficulties and maintain your emotional well-being.

Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. Take time each day to engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a walk in nature, reading the bible, or indulging in a hobby, find activities that recharge and rejuvenate you. Remember that self-care is not selfish; it is necessary for your own mental and emotional health.

Managing stress is crucial when dealing with a toxic co-parenting dynamic. Identify healthy coping mechanisms that work for you, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, journaling, or engaging in physical activity. Find what helps you release tension and stress and incorporate these practices into your daily life. By managing your own stress, you create a calmer and more nurturing environment for both yourself and your child.

RELATED: How To Heal and Rebuild Self-Esteem While Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex

2. Seek therapy or counseling

Co-parenting with a toxic ex can take a toll on your emotional well-being. It’s important to recognize when you need additional support and seek therapy or counseling if necessary. A therapist can provide a safe and non-judgmental space for you to express your feelings, process the challenges you face, and develop effective coping strategies.

Therapy can help you gain perspective, develop healthy boundaries, and navigate the emotional complexities of co-parenting with a toxic ex-partner. A trained professional can offer guidance tailored to your specific situation, helping you build resilience and develop strategies to handle difficult interactions or conflicts.

Additionally, group therapy or support groups specifically focused on co-parenting with a toxic ex can provide valuable insights and a sense of community. Connecting with others who have similar experiences can be empowering and reassuring, reminding you that you are not alone in this journey.

Remember, seeking therapy or counseling is a proactive step toward self-care and emotional well-being. It is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength and resilience. Prioritizing your own mental and emotional health allows you to show up as the best parent for your child, even in the face of toxicity.

By practicing self-care and seeking therapy or counseling, you equip yourself with the tools and support necessary to navigate the challenges of co-parenting with a toxic ex. Taking care of your own well-being is not only beneficial for you but also for your child, as they will benefit from having a resilient and emotionally balanced parent.

RELATED: How To Be A Good Co-Parent While Co-parenting With A Narcissist

Wrapping Up…

Co-parenting with a toxic ex-partner presents numerous challenges, but by placing your child’s well-being as the top priority, you can navigate this complex situation with strength and determination. Throughout this blog post, we have explored strategies and practical tips to protect your child from the negative effects of toxicity while co-parenting.

Recognizing toxic behavior, setting clear boundaries, and seeking professional assistance are essential steps in creating a healthier co-parenting dynamic. Nurturing a safe and stable environment for your child, focusing on your own well-being, and shielding your child from unnecessary exposure to toxicity is vital for their emotional and mental health. Building a positive co-parenting relationship by adopting a business-like approach, keeping interactions child-centered, and celebrating joint successes further contributes to a supportive environment for your child’s growth and happiness.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Reach out to support networks, consult professionals when needed, and trust in your ability to prioritize your child’s wellbeing. With resilience, patience, and unwavering dedication, you can provide the love and stability your child deserves, even in the face of co-parenting challenges. Together, let’s create a brighter future for our children, where their well-being remains at the forefront of our efforts.

Prioritize Your Child’s Wellbeing While Co-parenting With A Toxic Ex


Jul 23, 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!

30 Day Self-Care Challenge

free download!

It's time to prioritize you, mama! Dive into our 30-Day Self-Care Challenge, a tailor-made journey to fit your hectic life. 

@ FAITH MATINI 2021 All Rights Reserved


Faith Matini is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

error: Content is protected !!