By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Sure, divorce may end a marriage. But 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 is crucially important. That’s because it 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 one of the many co-parenting apps/tools to schedule co-parenting appointments. You can also keep clear records of all conversations, notes, memos, and details. Avoid in-person or telephone talk if there is tension, animosity or conflict. Writing enables you to express yourself clearly and succinctly. Emails and texts record dates and time which can also be useful.
Focus on the present – not the past
Communication is not about re-hashing old wounds and arguments. Focus on the issues at hand. Keep in mind that you are discussing important information related to your children and their wellbeing. Drop the emotions and name-calling. Keep your messages clean, clear and specific to relevant issues.
When you respond to any communication from your Ex, do it respectfully. Without jabs of judgment. Speak 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. Yes, you may feel justified in behaving differently. However, you are role modeling mature behavior for your kids and your Ex. The less you fuel angry flames, the easier to focus on what really matters: a healthy childhood for your children.
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, wellbeing and feelings. Avoid language that puts them on the defensive or triggers anger. Never start sentences 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 better results and greater peace of mind.
Ignoring the importance of creating a working, respectful, cooperative relationship between you and your child’s other parent is counter-productive. It sets you up for pain, anxiety and frustration. Even more importantly, your child feels the stress as well. And that creates needless 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 is crucial. That awareness 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 improve the co-parenting experience for you as well as your children. I am available to talk via phone or video. 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? For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, her coaching services, ebooks and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, visit https://www.childcentereddivorce.com