Co-parenting can be exhausting, especially if your communication skills while you were married were not great to begin with. During your divorce you may have asked yourself, “If we couldn’t communicate effectively while we were married, how are we going to when we are divorced?” It can be extremely difficult to get past the painful history you may have with your ex and overcome any built-up resentment. However, it can be done and it should be for the sake of your children. Below are three areas to work on to build more effective co-parenting communication skills.
- The Blame Game. Are you guilty of the “blame game?” In our household every time something went wrong blame had to be placed on someone. Late to an appointment – somebody’s fault. Food too spicy – somebody’s fault. Sidewalk is slippery – somebody’s fault. I just couldn’t understand why we had to place blame on someone for everything. It’s ok to be upset about something without having to constantly blame someone. Did your child forget to finish a school project while at his dad’s house? Sure the natural reaction is to blame your ex, but rather than focusing on who is to blame for something going wrong, focus on how to fix it. Co-parenting takes team work, and pointing fingers doesn’t work well on a team.
- Moving On. Put the past behind you. Sure you are still hurting from “XYZ…” but until you are able to put it behind you it will continue to come up and with continue to debilitate your co-parenting skills. If you are having trouble and haven’t already sought out therapy or counseling, please do so. Going to therapy doesn’t mean you are excepting blame for something that may have happened in the past, but rather seeking therapy means you are electing to seek out healthy ways to put the past behind you.
- Think before you speak. Divorce and co-parenting are full of emotions. It’s easy to act and speak in the moment and later regret it. We can’t always be intentional with our words, but there are times that we can take a step back and carefully choose our words. For example, it is too easy to rattle off an emotional email in the heat of the moment, instead make a vow to yourself that before responding to an email you will wait one hour to respond or go for a walk before responding.
There is a quote that reads, “10% of conflicts are due to difference in opinion. 90% are due to wrong tone of voice.” Don’t just consider your actual words, but your tone as well. Co-parenting takes a lot of hard work and communication, but continuing with small strides can make a huge difference that ultimately results in a more positive relationship for the sake of your children.Tagged with: children in divorce • Co-Parenting • communication • conflict in divorce • healthy divorce • keeping children at the center • peaceful divorce