The Complexities of Co-Parenting: Overcoming Anger, Control, and Distrust

Co-parenting post-divorce presents unique challenges, often rooted in the emotional aftermath of the marital breakdown. These difficulties typically arise when one or both parties struggle to let go of anger, control issues, or distrust each other’s motives. Understanding and addressing these challenges is crucial for creating a healthy co-parenting environment that prioritises the well-being of the child. This blog post delves into the reasons why co-parenting can be difficult and offers strategies for managing and overcoming these obstacles through personal healing and professional guidance.

The Emotional Turmoil: Anger and Resentment

Divorce often leaves a trail of unresolved emotions, particularly anger and resentment. When a marriage ends, especially under painful circumstances such as infidelity, it is natural for one or both parties to harbour intense emotions. These feelings can become a significant barrier to effective co-parenting, as they may cloud judgment and influence interactions with the other parent.

For instance, a mother who was cheated on may struggle to separate her anger toward her ex-husband from her perceptions of his parenting abilities. This anger, while justified in the context of their marital relationship, can unjustly influence her views on his role as a father. It’s important to recognise that while he may have hurt her as a spouse, his actions do not necessarily reflect his capabilities as a parent.

Control Issues: The Struggle for Dominance

Control issues often surface during co-parenting as both parties attempt to establish their roles and responsibilities in the new family dynamic. This struggle for control can manifest in various ways, such as one parent trying to dictate all decisions or undermining the other’s authority.

Control issues are frequently a byproduct of the emotional pain experienced during the divorce. For example, if one parent feels abandoned or betrayed, they may try to compensate by exerting control over the parenting process. This need for control can lead to conflicts and power struggles, making it difficult to maintain a cooperative co-parenting relationship.

Distrust: The Residual Effects of Marital Breakdown

Distrust is another common issue in co-parenting, often stemming from the circumstances that led to the divorce. When trust is broken in a marital relationship, it can be challenging to rebuild it in a co-parenting context. This distrust can manifest in various ways, such as questioning the other parent’s motives, doubting their decisions, or fearing that they will not act in the child’s best interests.

For instance, a mother may distrust her ex-husband’s parenting abilities because he cheated on her. Her distrust, rooted in his behaviour as a spouse, extends to his role as a parent, despite him not having directly harmed the child. This projection can create unnecessary tension and conflict, hindering the co-parenting process.

Managing and Overcoming Co-Parenting Struggles

Addressing these challenges requires a proactive approach focused on personal healing and emotional growth. Here are some strategies for managing and overcoming the difficulties in co-parenting:

Acknowledge and Process Your Emotions

The first step towards effective co-parenting is acknowledging and processing your emotions. It’s essential to separate your feelings about your ex-spouse from your responsibilities as a co-parent. Recognise that your anger, resentment, or distrust is valid in the context of your marital relationship but should not influence your parenting decisions.

Seek Therapy for Personal Healing

Therapy can be a powerful tool for personal healing and emotional growth. A therapist can help you process your emotions, develop coping strategies, and improve your communication skills. Therapy provides a safe space to explore your feelings and work through the challenges that hinder your ability to co-parent effectively.

Focus on Your Own Reactions

You cannot control how your ex-spouse behaves, but you can control your reactions. Focus on your own emotional responses and work towards managing them constructively. By taking responsibility for your own healing and reactions, you set a positive example for your children and create a healthier co-parenting dynamic.

Establish Clear Boundaries and Communication

Effective co-parenting requires clear boundaries and open communication. Establishing mutually agreed-upon guidelines for communication and decision-making can reduce conflicts and misunderstandings. Use tools like co-parenting apps to facilitate clear and respectful communication.

Prioritise the Child’s Well-Being

Always keep the child’s best interests at the forefront of your co-parenting efforts. Remind yourself that your primary goal is to provide a stable, loving environment for your child. This focus can help you navigate the emotional challenges and maintain a cooperative relationship with your co-parent.

Taking the Next Step: Professional Guidance

Co-parenting post-divorce is undoubtedly challenging, but with the right support and strategies, it is possible to create a healthy and nurturing environment for your children. If you find yourself struggling with anger, control issues, or distrust, reaching out for professional guidance can make a significant difference. Jeanne, a skilled therapist, can provide the support and tools you need to navigate these complexities and build a more harmonious co-parenting relationship.

Co-parenting after a divorce requires emotional resilience, personal growth, and a commitment to prioritising the child’s well-being. Parents can create a healthier and more cooperative co-parenting environment by acknowledging and addressing the challenges of anger, control, and distrust. Remember, the journey of healing is personal, and seeking therapy can provide invaluable support. Take control of your own reactions and emotions and reach out to Jeanne for guidance on navigating this difficult but ultimately rewarding path.

If you’re navigating the complexities of post-divorce co-parenting, consider reaching out for guidance.

I can help you understand these dynamics and support you in building healthy, enduring co-parenting strategies.

Read more:

Navigating the Complex Journey of Co-Parenting Post-Divorce

A Guide to Healing After Losing a Relationship

Overcoming Self-Doubt: Building Self-Confidence and Resilience in Counseling

The Consequences of Ignoring Depression: Why It Shouldn’t Be Taken Lightly

Normalising Depression Symptoms in Midlife

Media contact: Cathlen Fourie, +27 82 222 9198,,

More about Guidance to Grow

Guidance to Grow is a South African-based therapeutic consultancy that provides professional counselling and life coaching services. Guidance to Grow, under the leadership of Social Worker in Private Practice, Jeanne van den Bergh, has a focus on supporting individuals who are experiencing grief, bereavement, and trauma. They offer a range of services that are designed to help clients process and manage their emotions, including one-on-one counselling, group therapy, and workshops.

At Guidance to Grow, Jeanne takes a compassionate and personalised approach to each client’s unique needs. She works closely with clients to understand their challenges, provide guidance and support, and develop customised strategies to help them move forward and find a sense of peace and fulfilment.

Guidance to Grow’s commitment to providing exceptional therapeutic services has earned them a reputation as one of the most trusted and reliable counselling and life coaching providers in South Africa. If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, bereavement, or trauma, consider reaching out to Guidance to Grow for compassionate support and guidance.


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