Co-Parenting After A Divorce: Learning How To Communicate To Effectively Parent Your Children

When you are getting a divorce, it can be very difficult to negotiate co-parenting duties with your former spouse. When emotions are running high, it's important to learn how to communicate effectively. Most couples divorce because of the lack of an ability to communicate, and this is a skill that will have to be learned in order to address the needs of your children. Good communication begins with removing all emotion out of the conversation, relaying factual information only, and refusing to go back into negative patterns that contributed to the divorce in the first place.

Understand that Communication Should Be Concise

While you may have to feel that you have to explain yourself, or defend your actions to your former spouse, this is no longer necessary. If you have information to relay to the other parent, it should be concise. For example, you want to relay to your former spouse that your son has a dentist appointment to fill a cavity this week. Both of you are responsible for paying half of all uncovered medical costs, and you are both aware of this.

Concise communication would be "Our son has a dentist appointment on Friday for a cavity, the total cost will be $80." Poor communication would be, "I'm taking our son to the dentist on Friday, and I hope you'll finally pay your half of the bill because it is getting really expensive. Maybe if you took them to the dentist yourself, you will be more responsible." Be clear with your words, without adding in any extra comments.

Watch the Tone of Your Communication

Your tone should always be respectful to your former spouse. While you may want to yell and scream, use sarcasm, and overall be disrespectful, this is not effective communication. The two of you are divorcing for a reason, and continuing a pattern of negative communication is only going to prevent the two of you from moving on from your relationship. Your tone should be neutral, and informative without trying to blame or shame the other party. 

Make Sure the Communication is Necessary

If you find yourself sending emails or texts several times a day to your former spouse, it's time to sit down and think about whether these messages are necessary. If you are not getting along, less communication is better. Refrain from sending messages every time you have something to say, and try to consolidate your messages to avoid unnecessary communication. Click here to learn more about this topic.