A Compassionate Advocate
For Arizona Families

Avoid these toxic co-parenting tactics

On Behalf of | Sep 3, 2022 | Child Custody

You may have a strained relationship with your former spouse, but you still must work together to raise your children and promote healthy parent-child relationships.

Effective co-parenting involves setting aside your personal feelings and making sacrifices in the best interest of your youngest family members. To build the best possible co-parenting relationship with your ex, you should practice self-awareness and avoid these toxic tactics.

Breaking promises

Occasionally, outside influences cause plans to change, which may affect parenting time. Co-parents should be flexible and accommodating; however, some parties may try to use parenting time as a tool for manipulation. Canceling, changing or postponing plans just to assert control over your ex can affect your children’s emotional development and cause them to feel unworthy and unloved.


Gaslighting is a cyclical abuse tactic where one party seeks to manipulate or confuse another party by making plans or promises, failing to follow through and then denying, lying or blaming others. This type of manipulation causes children to lose trust in their own perceptions and will eventually lead to resentment and broken trust.

Criticizing Your Ex

You may not love your former spouse anymore, but your children deserve a loving relationship with their other parent. Making negative or destructive comments about your ex in the vicinity of your children is damaging in many ways. It can create feelings of fear, anxiety and insecurity. It can be easy to lose your cool in stressful situations, but try to save your rants about your ex for your support network or professional therapist.

To be a good parent, you must also support your co-parent’s efforts. Bad co-parenting behavior may lead to Arizona family court intervention and requests to modify child custody.