Stepfamily Sanctuary: Be a Good Ex

I just read this on Stepfamily Sanctuary today, though it was posted back in June of 2008, and I found myself nodding, groaning, and wanting to underline some things:

What makes a good ex? I have a few ideas…

1. A good ex is one who keeps the other parent up to date on the kids’ school and doctors. That means sending copies of report cards, field trip notices, school newsletters for school and letting the other parent know ahead of time when doctor appointments are. Provide an update after the appointment.

2. A good ex is one who doesn’t make the children feel bad for leaving them when they go to visit the other parent.

3. A good ex is one who allows the children telephone and Internet access with their other parent when they are with you without burdening them with your anger or resentment over it.

4. A good ex is one who doesn’t grill the kids about what went on in the other parent’s home while they were there.

5. A good ex is one who sees visitation as their child’s time; not just the other parent’s time…and respects that.

6. A good ex is one who shares transportation when possible. This time is for your child and both parents share responsibility for ensuring that time and bond. It should be referred to differently than parenting time because it’s not just for the parent. It’s for the child.

7. A good ex is one who is civil and polite without overstepping their boundaries.

8. A good ex is one who doesn’t use the child’s parenting time with the other parent as a bargaining tool to get what they want (you can have daughter if you give me xyz.)

9. A good ex is one who is emotionally healthy and is able to move beyond the resentments from the marriage/break-up to co-parent.

10. A good ex is one who doesn’t make any demands on the other parent like there is still a relationship (fixing a car, moving something, a shoulder to cry on or ear to bend). That relationship is over. The only relationship you have now is as parents.

11. Don’t answer the door in very little clothing. You likely will give the other parent something to laugh about later (been there, seen that, lol).

*Borrowed from Stepfamily Sanctuary, June 8, 2008*

A good ex, in my heart, is one who remembers that the kids still need their parents, and honors and respects that relationship with the other parent, no matter the relationship between the parents.

Bottom line, I suppose, is that a good ex is ultimately a good parent.

And a bad ex? Sadly, the same line of logic likely follows, and poor parenting is close behind.

What would you add to this list?

About TheSmirkingCat

I am endlessly trying to make sense of a world that has completely and unapologetically lost its mind.
This entry was posted in custody, divorce, how to be a good ex, kids, parents, Stepfamily Sanctuary. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Stepfamily Sanctuary: Be a Good Ex

  1. Amy says:

    How about not disappearing out of your kids lives and making sure that those children have a phone number, address, contact information on you.And – paying the support that’s for the kids and not using it as a weapon against the other parent and not paying it at all. Ever.

  2. Heather says:

    I don’t think mine would logical adds to this list; they’d be what makes a good ex who’s not custodial. Like, call once in a awhile. Reply to emails when you get information about school, health, etc. Show up to events that matter to your child. Show up to events when you tell your child you will. Show up to events whether or not your child asks you to. Be there for your child when she needs you instead of prioritizing your own schedule and needs. Don’t cancel on the few times you get to see your child for rock concerts. When you have visitation with your child, talk to them. Listen to them. OK, I gotta stop.

  3. #11 brings a few memories back! while my hubby was in iraq i would still go on his wkends and pick my stepson up from his mothers alone… and yep… you guessed it… she’d answer the door wearin’ hardly anything, seriously… think: panties and tshirt, little nightie w/ NO panties…. lord only knows what was goin thru her head!

  4. Smirking Cat says:

    Hi everyone, thanks for commenting! Heather and Amy, thanks for adding the perspective of custodial parents. To me, all these things come down to respecting the kids. If many people honestly stopped and asked themselves if their poor behavior is genuinely about the kids, or about themselves, I think they would be ashamed. Or at least should be.I particularly like the part about “parenting time” being the children’s time. It is so much different for the kids, all of it. They deserve to be protected as much as possible from the negative adult crap.

  5. macocha says:

    I think instead of a “good” ex – maybe a collaborative ex…lol teamwork in raising the kids. A good ex will grow the *beep* up…just kidding – not really.pretty much it all wraps up into just one phrase…a good ex will remember it is not about him or her; it is about the kids emotional and physical well-being.

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