The Power of Parenting

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Blended Families: Is my partner’s fighting with his/her ex affecting my child?

Q:Blended Families: Is my partner’s fighting with his/her ex affecting my child?

If your partner is still having battles with 'the ex,' it's only natural to worry about what this is doing to your own relationship, and what it's doing to your children.

In a situation like this, everyone suffers. As a parent, it's certainly hard not to be affected by your partner's problems. It can also be difficult hearing about 'the ex' all the time, when you want to get on with your own life together. You probably also have concerns about how the conflict is affecting the children, and what you could be doing to help.

Here are several suggestions that can make the situation easier for everyone:

  • Reassure your partner that you recognize how stressful the conflict is with 'the ex.' However, let your partner know that it's stressful for you and the children, too. Ask your partner to try to deal with these issues as privately and calmly as possible.

  • Neither you nor your partner should ever criticize 'the ex' in front of any children in any of the families. Always be positive.

  • Try not to become a go-between or mediator. You'll almost always get caught in the middle.

  • If the conflict seems intense, do try to use a professional mediator. This is someone who, unlike a lawyer, doesn't take sides. A mediator helps two people reach solutions that are acceptable to both.

If you feel the conflict is causing a strain on your marriage, or that it's damaging the children, it's a good idea to seek help - whether from a mediator or a counsellor, or consult your physician for referrals to appropriate family services in your area.