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8 Tips to Parenting with a Narcissist

Congratulations on making the break!   You’ve probably been to court (a lot) and hopefully have final orders by now. 

Final orders don’t always end the arguments.  The top reason for this (apart from the other side’s high conflict personality) is because the parenting issues are ongoing.

Don’t worry if you can’t co-parent. Parallel parenting works well.

How to deal with the Narcissist ex, while dealing with them as little as possible.

  1. Your ex is not going to become a better parent, so don’t expect it.  Expect that they will become worse.
  2. Work out how to communicate with the toxic ex.  Try a communication book or use a parenting app.  Only use emails and texts for emergencies.  A book can travel with the children.  Once you establish rules, stick to them.
  3. Don’t badmouth your ex, or their parenting rules, skills or approach.  Remember if you can’t say something positive, say nothing.  Neutral is the game.  Children can feel like they are being put down when you denigrate the ex. 
  4. Set your parenting rules – this is for you, in your home. Set boundaries.  Kids appreciate it, even if they don’t show it.  They can be confused by separation and how to work out what the rules of living apart and in 2 homes can be trying.   Establish your home as the one they want to be in.  Nurture and structure.  Routines and rituals.  This is what provides stability.
  5. Children should never be included in the separation.  Now is no time to start.  This means don’t grill them about what they did with the toxic ex when they were there.  It also means don’t talk about your ex to or in front of the children.  For anything which may need an explanation, be neutral.  Don’t let them be messengers. 
  6. If your children don’t want to do something with the ex, don’t force them to because you’re frightened about what being slapped with a contravention application.  But, do get legal advice.
  7. Stick to the Orders.  Expect that your toxic ex won’t.  Keep a thorough record of all intransigencies.
  8. Let your children guide you about the relationship they want with the other parent.

Parenting can be hard in separation and sometimes a fight ensues.  When this happens, get good family law advice quickly.  We can help you negotiate the system and know the pitfalls and narcissists well.  Call us.

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