If you’re divorced or getting divorced, chances are communication is already strained or stressful! Here are some helpful tips and resources to help with co-parent communication and make everyone’s life easier.
1. Text messaging should be limited to 5 words “I’m here.” “Kids will be there by 7” “Please see the email sent 2u”
Way too many parents rant or try to share too much information through text messages. This is a very reactive way to communicate, important messages are easily lost, and the tone of your message may be wrongfully interpreted – or felt correctly in a negative way.
The best communication is usually through written emails, phone calls with follow-up emails, or in-person -without the kids around.
2. Get the app!
These days with parents not wanting their emails flooded by the other parent, afraid of missing something, or wanting records of their communication, there are applications to help you.
The most frequently used app is Talking Parents. With this app, parents know exactly when a message was sent or received and read, can look back when information was requested, keep track of kid calendars and schedules, share receipts and payments for child expenses, and much more.
Civil Communicator is a similar service that keeps each parent from speaking ill or being hostile to the other parent in their exchanges.
When both parents agree to communicate through the apps, everything is kept in one place. A parent can check the messages when appropriate for her instead of getting harassed with multiple texts or losing something in an abyss of emails.
3. Plan Ahead.
Sure, emergencies and plans change happen, but not as often as some parents seem to create. Having a weekly check-in to look at the kids’ schedules and events, any events either parent has, and discussing the kids’ school work, projects, or any problems can help your children. Parents should have a 10-minute call once a week or grab a coffee once a month to look at what’s coming up and how to best help their kids.
When everyone knows what to expect, life is easier for everyone.
4. It’s not always about you!
Often clients believe their X isn’t responding out of spite or won’t agree to what you’re asking to be mean to you. The more you can remove your emotions from the facts, the more effective you can communicate.
Starting a conversation by asking the other parent how they are instead of going straight into demands or accusations can make a big difference for everyone.
5. When all else fails, Pick Up the Phone
If you find that email after email is getting exchanged or ignored and nothing is getting resolved, pick up the phone or text #PUTP to the other party.
Set a time to talk when neither of you has distractions, no one is too tired, the children are not around, and you both know exactly what you need to discuss and resolve.
After the call, then follow up with an email, so everyone knows what was discussed, what was determined, and what are the next steps for resolution.
Learning to speak to one another with clarity and respect will help you co-parent your children effectively.
If the other parent refuses to communicate effectively with you and nothing is getting resolved or is just more difficult than it needs to be, set up a consultation with us to see what other ideas and methods may help you.