Co-Parenting - How To Avoid Negative Communication Between Households

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Marcie Shaoul is the Director of The Co-Parent Way and the UK’s first co-parent coach. The Co-Parent Way works with separated parents to enable them to communicate effectively so they can bring up their children together.

Whether you’ve just separated or been divorced for years, you’ll know that if you have children together and are parenting with an ex, that good communication is key.

Very often communication between separated parents is really difficult. High emotions have been involved in the divorce, trust has broken down and communication is fractious, angered and blame focused.

Even when the divorce has been amicable, it can still be difficult to parent with someone you are no longer choosing to be in a relationship with. And that means it can be harder to communicate too.

I’m often asked what the single most important thing is to make co-parenting work. And it’s a really simple answer. One word in fact. Communication. But good communication is really difficult to achieve especially with someone you don’t really like. At The Co-Parent Way we work with separated parents to enable them to communicate effectively with each other, so they can continue to be parents, whatever they may feel about each other. We use proven techniques that enable parents to manage high levels of emotions in order to be able to make decisions together.

In this blog we are going to give you some key pointers on how to help communications if you’re separating.

Start With the End in Mind

If you can picture how you would like your co-parenting to be; positive, collaborative, respectful then this will help set the bigger picture. Imagine yourself in ten year’s time, do you want to have spent that time in a negative spiral with your ex? Or would it be better for your life to have a collaborative working relationship with them as parents? Think about what would be most beneficial for you and for your children and write it down.

Calm Your Mind

Once you have your positive end goal, we need to manage how we feel in the day-to-day. There are countless techniques to calm our minds such as going for a walk or meditation. At The Co-Parent Way we like to teach a very simple technique of touching your thumb and forefinger together very lightly. Notice the sensations and slowly move between fingers, touching each one to your thumb. This might sound like it has nothing to do with co-parenting, but what happens with this technique is that you immediately become calmer, more present and more able to think clearly and without the noise of your separation and your conflict influencing your co-parenting communication.

Have an agenda

A very practical tool to help with your co-parenting communications is to set regular times to meet. It could be twice a year, it could be once a month. Decide on the times, find a neutral place to meet and have an agenda. The agenda should be child-focussed only and should be time-limited. So if you’re meeting for 45 minutes, then don’t go over that time. It will keep you focussed on what parenting things you need to discuss and prevent you from going back into old arguing ground from your separation or relationship.

Focus on the children

In all your communications, focus on the children. What would they want? What do they need? If you move it away from what you would like or what’s most convenient for you, then this can be helpful. If you want something and your ex wants something it can become a battleground. If you’re both focussing (truthfully) on what’s best for the children, then you’re much more likely to align.

Be honest

Be truthful with yourself about how you are contributing to any negative communications there may be between you both. We can only change ourselves, we can’t change our ex! If you can take responsibility in yourself to be polite, respectful and collaborative when talking about your children, then this will go a long way to enabling the co-parent relationship and encouraging positive communication.

For more information about co-parent coaching or our new online course, please visit www.thecoparentway.com or email hello@thecoparentway.com

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