Co Parenting with a Narcissist Ex: 13 Helpful Strategies

Co parenting with a narcissist ex | Dandenong Family Lawyers
  1. Accept the Situation: Understanding that changing a narcissist’s behaviour is unlikely, helps in planning interactions.
  2. Document Everything: Keep a record of all agreements and interactions.
  3. Create a Clear Parenting Plan: Outline expectations and responsibilities in a comprehensive plan.
  4. Legal Formalities: Ensure all custody and visitation arrangements are legally documented.
  5. Child’s Best Interest: Always prioritise the child’s needs in decision-making.
  6. Set Clear Boundaries: Establish firm limits with the narcissistic parent.
  7. Limit Communication: Communicate only essential information to avoid manipulation.
  8. Empathy with Children: Support and understand your children’s feelings during this time.
  9. Stay Calm and Respectful: Avoid engaging in conflict to de-escalate tense situations.
  10. Maintain Perspective: Focus on parenting rather than battling with your ex.
  11. Protect Children from Conflict: Keep children away from disputes and arguments.
  12. Prioritise Your Health: Look after your mental and physical well-being.
  13. Consider Therapy: Seek professional help for navigating co-parenting challenges.

🗝 Key takeaway: Each of these strategies is designed to improve co parenting with a narcissist ex.

What Not to Do in Co-Parenting with a Narcissist Ex

Avoiding certain behaviours is as important as implementing positive strategies:

  1. Refrain from speaking negatively about your ex in front of your children. This can cause emotional distress and confusion for them.
  2. Resist the urge to react to provocations. Narcissists often seek to elicit emotional responses; staying calm deprives them of this satisfaction.
  3. Do not isolate yourself. Seeking support from friends, family, or professionals can provide you with much-needed perspective and coping mechanisms.

🗝 Key takeaway: Steering clear of these behaviours helps maintain a positive environment for your children and yourself.

Challenges Specific to Co-Parenting with a Narcissist Ex

One significant challenge is dealing with the unpredictability and inconsistency of a narcissistic ex.

They might agree to something one day and completely deny it the next. Another challenge is their tendency to use the children to exert control or get back at you, which can be confusing and harmful to the children.

Furthermore, narcissists often lack genuine empathy, making it difficult for them to understand or care about the impact of their actions on their children.

🗝 Key takeaway: Being aware and mindful of these challenges can assist you in developing coping strategies and protecting your children’s emotional well-being.

Also read: Can One Parent Keep a Child from the Other Parent Without Court Orders

Protecting Your Children in a Narcissistic Co-Parenting Situation

Maintaining open and honest communication with your children is crucial, ensuring they feel heard and understood.

Create an environment where they can express their feelings safely and reassure them that both parents love them despite the circumstances.

Regularly check in with your children to gauge their emotional state and provide support or professional help if necessary.

Encourage them to engage in activities they enjoy and help them maintain a sense of normalcy amidst the challenges.

🗝 Key takeaway: Creating a supportive and stable environment for your children can mitigate the negative impacts of co parenting with a narcissist ex.

Need a Lawyer?

When to Consider Full Custody

Full custody should be considered if there are consistent patterns of neglect, abuse, or harmful behavior from the narcissistic parent that directly impact the child’s well-being.

Documenting these instances and seeking legal counsel is essential in these situations.

The child’s emotional and physical safety is the priority, and if co-parenting compromises this safety, pursuing full custody becomes a necessary step.

It’s also crucial to consider the child’s wishes and feelings, especially for older children, as part of the decision-making process.

🗝 Key takeaway: Prioritising the safety and well-being of your child might sometimes mean taking legal steps to limit or prevent contact with a narcissistic ex.

Also read: Online Prenuptial Agreement: 4 Helpful Advantages


Co parenting with a narcissist ex is challenging after divorce, but with the right strategies and support, you can navigate this path while prioritising your children’s well-being.

Always be aware of the problems and address them early to prevent the escalation of narcissistic abuse.

Remember, seeking professional advice and support is a sign of strength, not weakness.



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