It is perfectly normal to feel some anger toward an ex-spouse. After all, anger is one of the emotional phases that divorced individuals often pass through when grieving the end of a marriage. If you share custody of your kids with your former spouse, though, you must keep your anger in check.

Effectively managing anger is a necessary part of any healthy co-parenting relationship. It is also good for the young ones in your family. If you are struggling to control your rage, you may want to try four proven strategies.

1. Focus on the best interests of your children

Even though your marriage did not last, your kids have their entire lives ahead of them. To be sure your children grow into happy and productive adults, you must focus on their best interests. When reacting to your ex-spouse’s irritating behaviors, ask yourself if your response is good for the kids.

2. Keep your kids out of it

You may have some legitimate beef with your ex-spouse. That beef probably does not involve your children. Therefore, you should never use your kids as a conduit to attack your ex. Refraining from telling your kids negative comments about your former spouse is key. Also, never ask your children to choose sides.

3. Take a breather

Anger, irritation and frustration often dull after a short period of time. Rather than immediately responding to your former partner’s actions, take a breather. Jotting down your emotions in a journal or writing a letter to your ex that you never send may help.

4. Know when to seek outside help

Good co-parenting is a two-way street. Even if you behave appropriately, your ex-spouse may not be reasonable. If you cannot make headway on your own, you may need outside help. An independent therapist, mediator or another professional may help you improve your co-parenting relationship.

Your custody agreement or parenting plan may contain a provision for resolving disputes. Before you invoke that process, however, you should be sure you have done everything possible to control your anger.