By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
While divorce may end a marriage, when you’re a parent it doesn’t end the need for working together on behalf of your children. How you communicate with one another about parenting issues will affect your children today and for years to come. Here are some tips on keeping communication with your Ex as effective as possible.
Communicate in writing
Use online co-parenting tools such as MoietyApp.com to schedule co-parenting appointments and keep clear records of all conversations, notes, memos, and details. Avoid in-person or telephone talk if there is growing conflict. Writing enables you to express yourself clearly and succinctly. Emails, texts and faxes record dates and time which can also be useful.
Focus on the present and the future
Communication is not about re-hashing old wounds and arguments. Focus on the issues at hand keeping in mind that you are discussing important information related to your children and their well-being. Drop the emotions and name-calling. Keep it clean and clear.
When you respond to any communication from your Ex, do it respectfully in the same way you would like your child’s other parent to respond to you. Be prompt, cordial and businesslike. Bite your tongue and avoid sarcastic, demeaning or other conflict-raising remarks.
Prioritize your Children’s Wellbeing
Regardless of what you think about your Ex, they are your child’s other parent. Keep the focus of your communication on the children, their needs, well-being and feelings. Avoid language that puts them on the defensive such as sentences that start with “You always ….” Instead use “I” language or “Johnny said …” to address important parenting issues. Your children love both parents. For that reason alone you want to maintain cordial communication for more effective co-parenting.
Failing to comprehend the importance of creating a working, respectful, cooperative relationship between you and your child’s other parent sets you up for pain, anxiety and frustration. Even more importantly, your child feels the stress as well and it creates emotional turmoil for them.
Two adults can’t always agree on everything — especially when they’ve been divorced. But understanding that your children’s wellbeing is at stake should keep you on the path toward mature compromise and productive dialogue.
If you’re facing challenges you can’t handle alone, reach out for professional assistance. As a Divorce & Parenting Coach I provide support, suggestions, strategies and more to help you ease the co-parenting experience for yourself and your children. I am available to talk via phone or Skype. Other divorce coaches around the world can provide services or resources to make co-parenting more successful for the entire family. So don’t hesitate to reach out.
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents. She is the author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! It can be found at //www.howdoitellthekids.com. Her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, free articles, and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues are all available at //www.childcentereddivorce.com.