Effective co-parenting starts with effective communication. While it sounds simple enough, broken relationships have complicated aspects that divorced (or separated) parents have difficulty moving past. (After all, if the parties had good communication skills, chances are that they would not be getting divorced.) Nevertheless, stable communication between parents is essential to a child’s development. The following tips can help.
Put your anger and hurt aside – Again, this may sound easier said than done, but it is the most important aspect in how to manage communication. Try to recognize that co-parenting is not about your feelings, but about your child’s growth and development. If you have to blow off steam or work through things, seek counsel from a trusted friend or therapist so that you can maintain the correct focus.
Keep a “business level” tone – Your tone should be pleasant and diplomatic, just as how businesses communicate with each other. This is especially important if you send text messages and emails, where benign statements can be interpreted as being rude or confrontational.
Be wary of using third parties – People generally do not like to be contacted by messengers, so if you have something important to say, do it yourself. Do not resort to having third parties (i.e. friends or relatives) communicate difficult positions or demands. Also, do not use children as messengers. If what you have to say is really important, and you cannot articulate it without getting angry, seek counsel from an experienced family law attorney.
Establishing good communication requires work, and it does not happen overnight. However, these guidelines can help you move past your difficulties and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship.