by Danica Joan Dockery, M.Ed
Co-parenting can be challenging, especially when communication between you and your co-parent is strained. However, effective communication is essential for ensuring that your child’s needs are met and that both parents are involved in their lives. Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with your co-parent:
Be respectful and courteous.
It’s important to treat your co-parent with respect and courtesy, even if you don’t agree with their parenting style or decisions. Avoid using derogatory or insulting language, and try to remain calm and composed during discussions.
Use “I” statements.
When discussing sensitive topics or disagreements, it’s important to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. For example, instead of saying “You never spend enough time with our child,” try saying “I feel concerned about our child’s quality time with both of us.” This approach is less confrontational and can lead to a more productive conversation.
Keep the focus on your child.
Remember that the purpose of co-parenting is to provide a stable and nurturing environment for your child. When communicating with your co-parent, keep the conversation focused on your child’s needs and well-being. Avoid bringing up personal issues or past disagreements.
Use a communication method that works for both of you.
Communication methods vary depending on each co-parent’s preferences and schedules. Find a communication method that works for both of you, whether it’s phone calls, emails, text messages, or in-person meetings. Use a shared calendar or scheduling app to keep track of your child’s appointments, extracurricular activities, and important events.
Set boundaries and stick to them.
It’s important to set boundaries with your co-parent, especially if there is a history of conflict or unresolved issues. If a conversation becomes heated or unproductive, take a break and come back to it later. Avoid discussing sensitive topics or making important decisions via text message or email.
Be flexible and willing to compromise.
Co-parenting requires flexibility and compromise. Remember that both parents have the right to be involved in their child’s life, and be willing to work together to find solutions that benefit your child. Focus on finding common ground and creating a parenting plan that works for both of you.
In conclusion, effective communication is key to successful co-parenting. By being respectful, keeping the focus on your child, using a communication method that works for both of you, setting boundaries, and being flexible and willing to compromise, you can create a positive co-parenting relationship that benefits everyone involved.
Danica Joan Dockery is a certified family mediator, anger management/domestic violence specialist and co-parenting expert, the author of “A Happy Child Co-Parenting Course” a court ordered family stabilization course for parents who are navigating the challenges of co-parenting after a breakup. She is also the founder of Kids Need Both, Inc and co-creator of the Hope4Families.net platform, a collaborative community that provides education, support and resources to families.