3 Important Principles for Dads Dealing with a Toxic Co-Parent.




(ThyBlackMan.com) Co-parenting children is a difficult assignment, but it can be a beautiful thing.  Many couples are successful in combining their talents, perspectives, and responsibilities in raising their children, albeit from different households. Unfortunately, that is not the case for every co-parenting situation. One or both parents has become (or maybe have always been) toxic. A toxic person is one who is abusive, unsupportive, and always has an ax to grind. In short, a toxic person has a perpetually bad attitude. This results in manipulation, distrust, and constant agitation.

I have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with such a situation as described above. I have a now fifteen-year-old son who is in high school school. For most of his time on this planet, I have had to adjust myself as a father to a toxic co-parent. I am writing this article to help the perspective of other dads who may be going through similar situations (and I suspect there are many of us).

If you are an all-in dad, and you are dealing with a toxic co-parent, it is important that you reflect, release, and reinvent as you move through your experience.


By ‘reflect’ I am pointing to its opposite extreme: reaction. Reacting is the worst thing we can do as dads. Instead, we should ‘respond’ after giving ourselves to a period of reflection. Do not operate on raw emotion. Too often too many men have gotten themselves into serious legal difficulties stemming from overreacting to a child-visitation situation. Reflecting and responding are effective countermeasures to guard against just that.

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I find it helpful in my devotional time to write affirmations about fatherhood and my role in it and about the type and quality of relationship I want to have with my son. Because we are all-in dads, because we love our children and are trying our best to be a positive role model, we operate a lot from our emotional ties. Sometimes, though, we must approach our co-parenting challenges absent of emotion. This is difficult, but necessary.


This may sound counter-intuitive at first, because our initial impulse to control is always present. The fact is, though, depending on your circumstances, there is little you can control – other than your own attitude! Release your desire to dictate the outcome and begin to look for ways in which you may exert the greatest influence. The utmost importance is the well-being of the child(ren). Squabbling, threats, intimidations etc. do nothing but exacerbate the situation. This is a difficult assignment, perhaps our most difficult as all-in dads.

Do the opposite of what the co-parent is doing. Take the high road. Cast your relationship with your child into the future, where the child will be a well-adjusted human being despite the present environment and owing much to your actions during the present.


Sometimes you must approach an old problem in new ways. We cannot continue to put new wine into old wine skins, if I may paraphrase Jesus Christ. Reinvent your approach. In my experience, I saw myself not just as a dad, but as a success coach and even as my son’s advocate. I see myself in a totally different way when I interact with my son’s co-parent as an advocate. What inspires that mentality is the principle that a child needs positive contributions from both parents to become a well-adjusted human being.

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Reinvention requires a deep commitment; hence, you must make a conscious attempt to reverse your approach. If you have tended to be negative, turn the tables on yourself. Speak and act only affirmatively.

Co-parenting can be a beautiful thing.

Staff Writer; W. Eric Croomes

This talented brother is a holistic lifestyle exercise expert and founder and executive coach of Infinite Strategies LLC, a multi-level coaching firm that develops and executes strategies for fitness training, youth achievement and lifestyle management. Eric is an author, fitness professional, holistic life coach and motivational speaker.