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Tips for effective communication for co-parents

Going through a divorce from your child’s other parent almost certainly won’t end your communication with that ex. Instead, you’ll likely have to continue to discuss things related to your children. While this might not be something you look forward to, it’s necessary so that you can better give your child what they need, and honor any shared parenting agreement that may be in place.

There are some ways you can make the communication as co-parents a bit less stressful. Consider these tips, and remember that each situation is different so you should pick and choose what’s effective in your situation.

Keep conversations child-focused

Staying focused on your child’s needs can help reduce the likelihood of conflict. Avoid bringing up past issues or problems unrelated to your child’s well-being. When discussing matters related to your child, express your thoughts and concerns clearly while remaining open to hearing your co-parent’s perspective.

Use written communication

Written communication allows for concise messages without the emotional charge that can come with face-to-face or phone conversations. Use emails, texting or co-parenting apps to discuss schedules, changes and important updates regarding your child. This method also provides a record of agreements and conversations, which can be helpful for future reference.

Establish regular check-ins

Setting a regular schedule for check-ins can provide structure and predictability to your communication. These check-ins can be as frequent as necessary and serve as a dedicated time to discuss your child’s progress, upcoming events and any concerns. Regular communication can prevent misunderstandings and ensure that both parents are up-to-date on their child’s life.

Use “I” statements

When discussing sensitive topics, framing your sentences with “I” statements can help reduce defensiveness and promote understanding. For example, saying, “I feel worried when I don’t know about our child’s appointments,” is less accusatory and more conducive to a productive conversation than “You never tell me about our child’s appointments.”

Ideally, you’ll put all the co-parenting communication rules into your parenting plan, along with other important points related to raising your child. Working with a legal representative who’s familiar with these matters may be beneficial so you can cover all applicable points in the plan.