Co-parenting after a split is never easy. It involves setting ground rules, being respectful of your child’s other parent (they’re going to be in your life for years to come, and your kids still love them) and showing a united front.
Actors Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green saw their co-parenting relationship put to the test this Halloween, when the father-of-four posted an image of himself in costume with their youngest son, Journey, 4, captioned “Hope you all had a good Halloween!!”
Fox responded with a long comment on Green’s post, criticizing him for including their youngest child in it.
“Why does Journey have to be in this picture? It’s not hard to crop them out. Or choose photos that they aren’t in.”
She continued, “I had a great Halloween with them yesterday, and yet notice how absent they are from my social media. I know you love your kids. But I don’t know why you can’t stop using them to posture via Instagram.”
“You’re so intoxicated with feeding the pervasive narrative that I’m an absent mother, and you are the perennial, eternally dedicated dad of the year. You have them half of the time,” she went on. “Congratulations you truly are a remarkable human! Why do you need the internet to echo back to you what should be inexhaustibly evident in the way your children love you?”
After Fox commented, Green posted a new crop of the pic, in which just he (and the family dog) can be seen.
The former couple share custody of the four-year-old, Journey River, and his siblings Noah Shannon (8) and Bodhi Ransom (6). Green also has an 18-year-old son, Kassius, with previous ex Vanessa Marcil. And Marcil appeared to be chiming in on the situation with a post of her own (below), captioned #ImWithYouSister.
Green regularly posts images of himself with their children, doing everything from a Target run to playing in the pool to having breakfast in bed on Father’s Day, which may seem fairly innocuous. But Fox could still have been seething over one post in particular, from August 5, when she left those angry comments about her ex’s “posturing.”
Back in August, Fox posted the selfie below with her current partner, Machine Gun Kelly, captioned “Achingly Beautiful Boy ... My heart is yours 🔪🖤🔪” ...
... just hours later, Green responded by posting an Instagram slideshow of his sons with an echo of Fox’s original caption, “Achingly beautiful boys ...... my heart is yours.”
OK. Time out, Mom and Dad!
Co-parenting with an ex is not always easy ― we get it ― especially when the break-up is relatively fresh or when new partners appear and feelings are raw. But even if we feel the need to vent, social media is never the best place to thrash it out.
“Co-parents need to abide by a code of conduct that includes no airing of grievances over social media,” Brande Weikle, who writes about co-parenting and runs the Facebook community Positive Co-Parenting After Divorce, told HuffPost Canada.
“There’s no reason that disputes between exes need to take place in comments on social posts. This only amplifies the problem, potentially creating embarrassment for kids, if not today, then later when they’re able to find this history online.”
Weikle suggested including a social media clause in any separation agreement or parenting plan that co-parenting exes draw up together. “If you disagree about things like how to protect kids’ privacy online, that’s an issue to take up with a mediator,” she said.
Parents should always be guided by one principle, Weikle added: “Do what’s right for the kids.”
Most divorced or separated co-parents would agree that even in the best-case scenario, there are going to be times when you feel incredibly frustrated with your ex and their choices. Totally normal. There’s a reason (maybe many, many reasons) you’re no longer together. To handle the feelings that brings up, Weikle suggested having “a two-track system” for coping with whatever challenges arise in a separation:
“On the one hand you need your own therapist and/or group of supportive friends and family to help you heal from the pain and disappointment of the relationship breakdown.” That’s where parents can process things privately with other grown-ups they trust.
The ultimate goal, according to Weikle: “To bring your most grown-up and reasonable self to the second track ― your polite and cooperative interactions over co-parenting the children.”
WATCH: Megan Fox Takes Aim At Ex Brian Austin Green Over Instagram Post