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How to Communicate with Your Co-Parent

It doesn't matter if you are separating, divorcing or even an intact family having to tackle tough discussions with a co-parent can be tough for a lot of parents.

Learning to handle tough discussions with a co-parent can be hard for those going trough a separation, divorce or other family crisis. Our parenting class contains a section on communicating during stressful times.

Even the very thought of trying to communicate with a co-parent is enough to cause stress in some because of a previous tendency for the conversation to evolve into an argument. You may be worried your co-parent will want to point out all your past faults.

You may even secretly relish the chance to tell your spouse what you really think of him/her. However, rehashing the same old issues, and indulging in power plays keeps that familiar connection going.

You can indulge in pointing out why your relationship failed and who was to blame but it won't help you to get on with your life or enable to you be a co-parent. You can be an effective co-parent and still not resolve feelings about your former partner. However you do need to learn to communicate well because it is your style of communication with your former partner that is often the area that affects your children.

Keep these goals in mind when communicating with your co-parent:

  1. Make sure arrangements are understood regarding your kids to avoid missunderstandings.
  2. Model good negotiating and problem solving skills for your kids regardless of what your former partner does.
  3. Make life easy during transitioning between homes, for your children's sake.

Remember to put your children first when communicating with your co-parent. Don't take the bait if your co-parent tries to goad you into an argument. You are not working on your old relationship, but rather assuming a new role as a co-parent with your ex-partner.

You can't control the co-parent. The only person you can control is yourself. If things heat up take a step backwards and cool off before responding to what they said or change the subject. Your kids might be listening.

For more information on parenting, parenting classes or therapy at reasonable prices designed by a licensed marriage and family therapist, please contact us to set up a co-parenting class.

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