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Manage conflit ex partner

How to Manage Conflict with Your Ex-Partner When Co-Parenting

Conflict happens; after all, you are moving through a separation and divorce and that time is always high conflict and high tension. Of course, you don’t want that conflict when you are co-parenting your children for their well-being and happiness. But how do you manage that conflict? In this article, we will go over some amazing tips that will help you get through those high conflict moments in your co-parenting arrangements.

Before we look at those tips, it is important to stress that managing conflict quickly is very important for co-parenting. If you don’t manage that conflict in a mature and timely manner, it can cause more damage to the co-parenting relationship and can lead to more conflict occurring and a harder relationship overall. Tackling hard issues means that you and your ex-partner can focus on what’s important for the best interests of your kids.

Build a Foundation of Trust

This really isn’t something that you do in the middle of a conflict, but it is so important in managing conflict as you can move through it much faster when you have a foundation of trust. To do this, make sure that you are consistent and reliable in your co-parenting—give important updates quickly, make sure you are always on schedule for visitations, etc., and be honest about expenses. 

When you have trust, you will find that conflicts occur at a lower rate and are resolved much faster than when you don’t. 

Avoid Taking Offense

The second tip that you should always follow is to avoid taking offense for several reasons. First, the co-parent may only be trying to explain how they are feeling about a situation. Second, when you take offense, you end up being emotional as well, which can compound and complicate the conflict. Third, it is easier to really understand what the conflict is about without having to worry about being offended.

Sometimes, when you approach it in this manner, you realize that there are legitimate concerns. Even if the concerns aren’t, for your co-parent, they clearly are so you can approach it level-headed and help them see where the misunderstanding is or where you can both get to a resolution much faster than if you are both upset. 

Choose Communication that is Low-Conflict

Low-conflict communication should never be confused with being a pushover. What we mean when we say low conflict is that you stick to facts and avoid meeting your ex-partner with the same energy. If you become defensive or angry, it can lead to further conflicts and a breakdown of the co-parenting arrangement that you have.

In moments when you can’t be low conflict, take a step back. You want to avoid engaging in the similar manner. One analogy that many therapists make is that arguments and conflict is like stepping into a sandbox. For every minute you are in the sandbox arguing, you revert a year in age. Within 15 minutes, you are suddenly at the same emotional level as a teen (or younger) and it can become impossible to be rational after that point.

When you feel yourself being pulled into that sandbox, take a break. You are no longer together as partners and you can say, I need a few minutes to collect myself, or I can’t talk right now as I’m too upset. Once you are able to collect yourself, return to the conflict or, if you find it impossible not to match emotions, move to journal communication to avoid as much conflict as possible. 

Don’t Shy Away From Apologies

Finally, don’t shy away from apologizing. We all make mistakes and it is important to identify your own mistakes in a conflict. It might be a minor or reactionary mistake, but you should still apologize. 

Even if you don’t apologize, don’t play the blame game. Move away from it and say, this happened so how do we fix it for the kids. In addition, if you are not at fault at all, and are receiving the apology, try to accept the apology without any type of retaliatory behaviour. 

Once the apology is made, make sure that you do not hold grudges and encourage the same from your ex-partner. Grudges will only lead to more conflict and will harm the relationships you and your ex-partner have with your children.

What Should I do If my Ex-Partner is High Conflict?

First, we should let you know that it happens. Even with the best mediation that money can buy, some ex-partners can’t move behind the emotions they felt from getting divorced. Second, you shouldn’t force a relationship if your ex-partner is abusive and has continued that behaviour after the divorce. In that case, co-parenting apps, like 2houses, can make it much easier to navigate and avoid the ex-partner as needed. 

If your ex-partner is a high conflict co-parent, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

  1. Accept that he or she is high conflict. This can be difficult but when you accept it, you’ll find that you don’t have to control the outcome. All you need to do is focus on your own emotions, not step into the conflict and focus on the kids. The 2houses app works excellent in providing that space where you can manage your emotions or navigating your ex-partners without a lot of conflict.
  2. Set boundaries for yourself. We often think of this is in boundaries that you tell your high conflict ex-partner about but it isn’t. These are boundaries that you are going to set just for you that you don’t have to let your ex-partner know. This can be that you won’t defend yourself. You won’t respond to messages right away, or you will only meet your ex-partner for child transfer with other people present. Having boundaries can keep you from reacting in a high conflict manner and may help reduce his or her high conflict tendencies.
  3. Discuss things with your child. If your ex-partner is badmouthing you, it is important to not badmouth your ex back to the child, but neither should you just ignore the badmouthing. Kids can become scared by things said and if you don’t discuss it, they could believe it as truth. Discuss what was said, their emotions about it and if it was true, or partially true. You can tell them that their other parent is upset with you and sometimes, even adults say mean, hurtful things when they are upset. 

In the end, high conflict is not good for anyone in the relationship so it is important for you to correct these things before they go too far. Find ways to communicate with your co-parent through mediation or a mediation app like 2houses so you don’t feed into each other’s emotions. Once you can manage those conflicts quickly and efficiently, you can focus on enjoying the new dynamic you have with your children as a co-parent. 

Why 2houses?

We are a co-parenting facilitator!


A calendar for everyone, getting organised when you’re divorced is a priority. 2houses provides you an online shared schedule, with many editing, adding, and sync features.


For us, as divorced parents, the financial topic is most of the time a conflict topic. Now, 2houses manages all expenses from each parent, keeps you informed on the situation, day after day, coins after coins.


Communication is key, this is why 2houses offers you an online messaging tool, simple, efficient and secure.


The journal is your quick family social network. You can easily share all information, news, photos, videos, and even your children’s funny quotes. The family is never far away, no matter where you are geographically located.

And many more features!

Try 2houses for your family

We offer a 14-day trial to test our services and start improving your family life!

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