Throughout the year, this section will be updated with helpful hints for you and your family. Suggestions to improve your co-parenting relationship will be included in this section, as well as facts and research on separation, divorce and children.
Parental Conflict has a negative impact on children. Children should not feel as though they need to choose between their parents. Criticisms about the other parent shared with the children will only make youngsters defensive and angry. When children are used as the conduit of information, it makes them responsible for adult information rather than those who are responsible for it. Talking about court or finances, or anything that is specific to the marriage embroils the children in matters that are not appropriate for them. Avoid questioning children to gather information about the former spouse and withholding parenting time due to anger is unfair to children. Divorce is an emotional time; seek the services of a professional to discuss your feelings rather than turning to your children. Your children are experiencing their own feelings and emotions and cannot be in the position of a support person for their parent. Keeping conflict away from children will help them in this time of transition as they become adjusted to their reorganized family.
Fall of 2016
Listening. This word is critical to positive communication. By definition, it means to give one’s attention to a sound. It also means to take notice of and act on what someone says.
Often, adults believe they are listening, but are they? Are we truly giving attention to the words that are being spoken? Are we pausing to understand them, pausing to think about them, and asking questions if we don’t understand? Many times parents in conflict only listen for as long as it takes to begin preparing their reply. Try to slow down when communicating. Pay attention to the words spoken and ensure that they are understood before responding. Attention to content can yield effective dialogue.
Parents residing in two homes often utilize email and text messaging to communicate about the children. While both can be valuable tools, they can be misused and actually contribute to conflict rather than reduce it. Tone, intent and content can easily be misinterpreted. Text messaging is optimal for sharing brief and time sensitive information. Messages that are lengthy, contain negative language or are combative do not have a positive impact on a co-parenting relationship.
When raising a topic with your co-parent, ask yourself the following questions; What does this topic have to do with our children? What impact does it have on the child? Let the information from these questions lead the conversation with your co-parent. This will allow the conversation to remain focused on the children and positive problem solving.
Copyright 2013 - 2016. JWN
co-parenting | mediation | collaborative divorce | parenting coordination