Communicating with maturity starts with listening. Even if you end up disagreeing with the other parent, you should, at least, be able to convey to your ex that you’ve understood his or her point of view.
Co-parenting after a divorce is difficult. For most people, getting along with their former spouse in the parenting process was already challenging enough during the marriage. There can be communication, trust, and emotional barriers that linger between the two parties after the marriage is dissolved. But when children are involved, you must co-parent in a way that protects your child and brings them the most emotional stability.
Here are a few behaviors to avoid:
1. Do not disrespect or sabotage your child’s relationship with the other parent.
2. Do not try to hurt or “get back” at your ex by using your child as a pawn or to collect information.
3. Do not force your child to choose sides in scheduling or planning conflict.
4. Do not depend on your child for companionship and support because you are hurt mainly because they are not adults and are should not be responsible for your emotional care.
5. Do not make your child feel guilty about having a good time with your ex or spending time with their family.
Keep moving toward actions that feel peaceful and bring happiness to your lives. Make sure you are communicating with your ex in a way that is concise and direct to avoid misunderstandings and conflict. Communication should be focused on problem-solving and meeting the needs of the children affected by your divorce. Be helpful to one another and understanding, but also clear about your boundaries and needs.
Communicating with Your Ex
If you are co-parenting after a divorce, communication with your ex is going to be a necessary part of raising your family. Many people had communication issues during the marriage and will still feel those same frustrations in the discussions they have with their exes after the divorce is finalized. When you are talking to your ex remember that you are communicating to help your children. It is important to remain calm and focus on conflict-free communication.
We love this helpful list from the HelpGuide on how you can initiate and maintain effective communication with your ex:
1. Set a business-like tone:
Approach the relationship with your ex as a business partnership where your “business” is your children’s well-being. Speak or write to your ex as you would a colleague—with cordiality, respect, and neutrality. Relax and talk slowly.
2. Make requests:
Instead of making statements, which can be misinterpreted as demands, try framing as much as you can as requests. Requests can begin “Would you be willing to…?” or “Can we try…?”
Communicating with maturity starts with listening. Even if you end up disagreeing with the other parent, you should, at least, be able to convey to your ex that you’ve understood his or her point of view. And listening does not signify approval, so you won’t lose anything by allowing your ex to voice his or her opinions.
4. Show restraint:
Keep in mind that communicating with one another is going to be necessary for the length of your children’s entire childhood—if not longer. You can train yourself to not overreact to your ex, and over time you can become numb to the buttons he or she tries to push.
5. Commit to meeting/talking consistently:
Frequent communication with your ex will convey the message to your children that you and their other parent are a united front. This may be extremely difficult in the early stages of your divorce or separation.
6. Keep conversations kid-focused:
You can control the content of your communication. Never let a discussion with your ex-partner digress into a conversation about your needs or his/her needs; it should always be about your child’s needs only.
Communicating well will go a long way in maintaining a healthy relationship between you, your ex, and your children. It is not easy, but these communication techniques should help.