When you separate from your children’s other parent, you will need to conduct the business of raising your children, with someone you would probably rather not talk to. How do you find the strength to always “take the high road”? The answer is to always remember to put your children first and make all decisions in their best interests.
It is important to compartmentalise your emotions; put aside your personal feelings towards your ex and deal with the issue in hand…your children. To find out about the sorts of issues you will need to communicate about, see my blog – Separating Parents: Planning Arrangements for the Children.
Emotions may still be running high over the breakdown of the relationship and it is challenging trying to keep a clear head and deal with things calmly. I do a lot of work with my clients to ensure they communicate effectively and productively with their children’s other parent.
Here are some of my suggestions on the best way to approach to approach things:
Whenever possible, consider communicating in writing
- It can be daunting prospect to have to talk to your ex face to face. Communicating in writing is much more comfortable.
- Communicating in writing, gives you the opportunity to clarify your thoughts and express yourself clearly. It ensures your message is heard without being interrupted.
- Emails/texts give the recipient time to process the information before responding. This is more likely to result in a considered response rather than a knee jerk emotive one (which you may have received if your ex was put on the spot face to face).
- In the event of any misunderstanding, you can refer to what has been written. Emails also have the benefit of having a date and time recorded on them.
- Be careful with the tone of the email/text. Do not use capitals, bold or exclamation marks. Stay away from sarcasm; it is unnecessary and can be misinterpreted. No name calling or bad language.
Stick to child-focused issues
- Communication about other issues must be kept separate.
- Start with something positive. Something that you are in agreement with or something that is going well regarding arrangements for the children. For example- “I am sure you are as pleased as I am that Tom is getting on so well at football training. I think it was a good idea for us to decide to send him on the course. “
- Keep your communication informative, not negatively emotional. Do not use your communication as an opportunity to re-hash your feelings about the subjects you are writing about.
- Respond to communication from your child’s other parent as you would like them to respond to you. This is business communication about your children. Be prompt and business-like.
- If an item requires a response, indicate when it is necessary. For example; “the school requires money for Tom’s trip by 2nd June, please can you get back to me by 31st May”.
- Divide your writing into sections with headings for each new topic. This makes it easier for recipient to digest all the information. It also encourages them to respond using the same format, making it easier for you to read their responses for each item.
- Be clear with your message. Are you asking a question or providing information? What are you looking for by way of response?
For tips on how to approach challenging conversations you may have with your ex, see my blog – How To Handle Difficult Conversations During Divorce.
You will need to have a good working relationship with your ex to co-parent your children. This is often not easy when you have had a difficult break up and feel negatively towards your ex.
If you have found the tips in this blog useful then you’ll find lots more in my eBooks, which you can purchase and download today.