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Monday, February 10, 2014

Motivational Monday's: New Series Ask Dr. B How Can I Keep My Ex's Wife From Interfering?

Thought for the Day: I have started answering questions for a column on a new website, Single Mom Playbook. The website focuses on helping single mothers deal with all the stresses involved in divorce and single parenting. I decided to repost a segment from this column: Ask Dr. B. Every Sunday, I will answer questions that come in from their readers. Feel free to post a question if you need assistance with a single parenting issue. Shanon Philpott, is a freelance reporter who is organizing this amazing resource for single moms. 
Here's one of my answers about handling interference from an ex-spouse's new partner, which I cut & pasted from their blog:

Ask Dr. B: How Can I Keep My Ex’s Wife From Interfering?

question-mark1Dear Dr. B,

I have been a single mom for several years and my ex recently remarried. I am grateful that his wife is good to my children, but she is very pushy with me and tries to get involved in issues that should be between just me and my ex, such as child support and visitation. Her involvement has strained the co-parenting relationship I have with my ex and the children are picking up on the tension when we attend their activities together. Any suggestions on how to handle this situation?

ANSWER: Before I answer, let me say that I understand how you feel. It is hard enough dealing with an ex-spouse on financial and visitation arrangements.  It is also challenging to adjust to having another women getting involved in your children's and indirectly in your life. However, they have become your ex’s new partner. It sounds like she cares about your children and wants them to feel comfortable in their home. (Not all step-parents are as welcoming of their partner’s children.) Often wives become the social planners which means they help their husband with organizing the calendar for their new family. If you have been flexible in the past, your ex-husband may assume that his wife can help set things up. If there have been problems and you want to stick to the visitation plans as set up by the courts, simply politely let her know it needs to remain the same.
Child support on the other hand should follow court guidelines unless your ex’s work situation changes. I would suggest that you speak with your ex and ask he be the contact person regarding financial issues. Even though his new wife is involved in their finances, you should not need to discuss their finances with her.
It is important for your children that you have as respectful of a relationship with his wife as possible. A caring step-parent can be a huge ally, especially when they reach adolescence. They may not speak with either you or your ex-husband, but might listen to them. We all can benefit from as many caring adults in our lives as we can get. Step-parents, teachers, coaches can play significant roles in helping our children grow into healthy responsible adults. Encourage your children to learn from and take advantage of their step-mother’s presence as a role model.
Have a question for our experts? Submit your single mom challenges via our Contact Formand get the advice you need to stay in the game of single parenting.
DrLaviDr. Barbara Lavi is a licensed clinical psychologist in Massachussets and Connecticut. She is the author of the “Wake Up and Dream Challenge.” You can find out more about Dr. B
Author:  ”The Wake Up and Dream Challenge”, new edition published by (Kiwi Publishing (2012) & best seller on will:
* Teach you how to ‘dream it forward’ at any age regardless, financial, health or personal challenges
* Inspire you with true stories of clients making what seemed impossible possible, so that you can too
* Show you how to silence your inner critic & set yourself free from it’s restraints
* Empower you to take control of your future by becoming your own “dream parent”
* Help you program your own DPS (Dream Positioning System) (™) to chart your journey to a happier life
 Licensed Clinical Psychologist:
Dr Lavi began working as a clinical psychologist in 1978. She worked & trained in the Boston area before moving to Westport, CT in 2000. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Child Psychology & a Doctorate in Professional Psychology. Positions include:
  1. *Clinical Child Psychology Consultant Lawrence, Methuen, Andover & Burlington MA public schools,
    *Staff Psychologist/Coordinator of Child & Trauma Teams Harvard Community Health Plan, Burlington MA a Harvard Medical School Affiliate,
  2. *Clinical Director of The Delphi Center of Burlington.
  3. *Founder of ACT Now Psychotherapy utilizing her unique active, creative, time-sensitive approach to therapy. Creativity is an integral part of Dr. Lavi’s life & her therapeutic approach. Music, dance, writing & crafts are hobbies that have been utilized in her work with children, as well as adults. She also writes songs & has organized creativity enhancement workshops for other writers.
She tailors her work to meet each client’s unique needs. Drawing from a wide range of expertise & experience, she collaboratively develops the best therapeutic plan for each client. Clients are actively involved in the process. Time-sensitive therapy is as brief as possible, but the therapeutic relationship lasts for a lifetime. Depending on the issues addressed, some clients may be in therapy for a few months while others may come for a few years. After completing a segment of therapy, over the years, clients often return for a tune up or to consult about a new issue or life challenge. Each time a client returns, therapy tends to be briefer.
Dr. Lavi works with children & adults utilizing individual, couple, family, & group therapy. She utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis & EMDR. Her areas of specialization include: divorce, anxiety, fears, phobias, loss, illness & trauma. Dr. Lavi currently maintains a private practice in Weston, CT.
Dr.Lavi blogs daily at

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