Smart Strategies for Child-Focused Communication With Your Ex
While divorce may end a marriage, when you’re a parent is 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 Our Family Wizard to 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 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 well-being is at stake should keep you on the path toward mature compromise and productive dialogue.
Written By: Rosalin Sedacca
About the Author:
Rosalind Sedacca is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and author of the internationally acclaimed guidebook, 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 http://www.howdoitellthekids.com. Her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, free articles, free ezine and other valuable resources for parents are all available at www.childcentereddivorce.com.