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Coping with negative emotions when a child vacations with an ex-spouse

Parents that are going through a divorce or are already divorced must often overcome many challenges when attempting to effectively co-parent with an ex-spouse. While it can be extremely difficult, divorcing or divorced parents must find ways to communicate and get along with an ex-spouse. Remember, you and your child's dad or mom may have divorced, but he or she is still your child's parent and therefore an important and integral part of your child's life. What's more, this will never change and the sooner parents are able to set aside and move beyond their own negative feelings towards an ex-spouse, the better off a child will be.

Of course, even in cases where divorced parents are able to peaceably get along for a child's sake, conflict can arise. One of the most anxiety-producing events for a divorced parent is when an ex-spouse takes a child on a summer vacation.

While it goes without saying that a mom or dad is going to miss their child like crazy, it's best to keep emotions in check. In cases where the involvement of both parents is possible, it's important for a child to spend quality time with both parents. It's also important that a mom or dad doesn’t do anything to ruin or interfere with a child's genuine excitement about an impending vacation and his or her time with the other parent.

Yes, a parent may regard an ex-spouse's plans to spend a week in Disney World with your son or daughter and a new love interest as extravagant and hurtful. Regardless, no it's not ok to make mention of these thoughts to a child or in any way interfere with his or her relationship with your ex.

Matters related to child custody are intensely emotional and, at times, can bring out the worst in an individual. To help keep negative emotions in check, a parent would be wise to view a situation from his or her child's perspective and always keep what's in the best interest of a child top of mind.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "When the kids vacation with your ex: Don't trip out," Heidi Stevens, June 17, 2014

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