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Understanding the reasons why co-parents fight

When you and your child’s other parent were still romantic partners, what did you fight about? Do you still fight about the same broad issues now? Couples most often argue about a few broad categories of issues. Oftentimes, co-parents fight about the same issues, even if the arguments between co-parents tend to look a little different than arguments between romantic partners do.

It is common knowledge that romantic partners tend to fight about money, division of labor, how to spend free time and issues involving extended family. According to marriage expert Dr. John Gottman, nearly 70 percent of marital conflicts are never solved. It is therefore not surprising that issues that affected your romantic partnership with your child’s other parent now lead to arguments with your co-parent.

If you and your co-parent have historically argued about any of these core issues, you are likely to argue about them moving forward. What is important to remember is that because many arguments are never solved, you need not seek complete resolution while arguing about significant issues now. What you need to do, for your own wellbeing and your child’s wellbeing, is to find ways to argue in healthy and constructive ways that do not lead to lingering tensions.

If you and your co-parent can better understand what you argue about and why, you can likely find ways to make peace temporarily with small increments of process. You may never completely resolve issues concerning division of labor, but perhaps this week you can solve a sub-issue like who will pick your child up from school every Friday. By making peace with small increments of progress over time, you may save yourself from a great deal of destructive stress.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Why Couples Fight: The Top 5 Issues,” Vanessa Van Edwards, June 18, 2015

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