Family relationships can be difficult in the best of circumstances. When a couple is going through a divorce, strained relationships can become even worse. In all probability, each spouse’s family is supporting them, as it should be. But while supporting their family member, they may be alienating themselves even further from the soon to be ex in-law.
Unfortunately, unless you can prove your ex’s family is abusive to your children, there is little you can do to keep your ex from taking them to see his family. Your ex probably wishes your children didn’t see your family either. Even if your children say the family is mean to them, without proof, there is little you can do. Talk to your ex and see what he/she says. Maybe the only problem is that the family is discussing the divorce in front of the children and making comments about you that are making the children uncomfortable.
To keep as much peace in the extended ex in law family, there are a few things you can do. Remind your children that their family loves them as much as always and that they need to behave when they are visiting. Never tell your children to misbehave as a way to get back at your ex. This will only backfire on you at a later time and will lower your own standards. If you can, talk to your ex in-laws about your concerns and be sure to let them know that you know how much they love the children. Often, emotions get out of control from fear that they may be cut from the children’s lives.
Remind your own family that your children love their other parent and that you expect your family to not discuss the divorce or your ex with the children around. Make sure your own family is acting the way you want your ex in-laws to act before you accuse your ex’s family of any wrong-doing.
The best way to show your family how you want them to be is to act that way yourself. Don’t say anything negative about your ex or his/her family when the children may overhear. If you happen to see someone at the store, smile and say hi. You don’t have to stand and visit, simply be friendly. Being kind may be the last thing you want to do, but you want to show your children how a mature, classy person acts and be the model your children need to become a kind person when they grow up.
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