Communicating with Your Ex
If you are co-parenting after a divorce, communication with your ex is going to be a necessary part of raising your family. Many people had communication issues during the marriage and will still feel those same frustrations in the discussions they have with their exes. Remember when you are talking to your ex that you are communicating to help your children. It is important to maintain calm and focus on conflict-free communication.
We love this helpful list from the HelpGuide on how you can initiate and maintain effective communication:
- Use a business-like tone. Mentally try to look at your relationship with your ex-spouse as a business partnership and your “business” is ensuring the children’s well-being. So, in all your communications treat them as you would a work colleague.
- Ask, don’t tell. Instead of telling your ex what you want, which when emotions are running high, can be construed as a demand, try rephrasing as much as you can as a question like, “Are you open to trying…?” or “Would you be willing to…?”
- Listen. Communicating with maturity starts with listening. Even if you end up disagreeing with the other parent, you should at least be able to convey to your ex that you’ve understood his or her point of view. And listening does not signify approval, so you won’t lose anything by allowing your ex to voice his or her opinions.
- Show restraint. Keep in mind that communicating with one another is going to be necessary for the length of your children’s entire childhood—if not longer. You can train yourself to not overreact to your ex, and over time you can become numb to the buttons he or she tries to push.
- Communicate on a regular basis. If you can communicate on a regular basis with your ex, it conveys a message to your children that you and their other parent are a united front. This may be extremely difficult in the early stages of your divorce or separation (see the tip below), but in the long run, it will help you both become better co-parents.
- Keep conversations kid-focused. Control your communication so it’s child focused if it goes off topic do your best to bring the focus of the conversation back to the children. Never let a discussion with your ex-spouse digress into a conversation about your own needs or their needs; keep the focus on your child’s needs only.
Communicating well will go a long way in maintaining a healthy relationship with you, your ex, and your children. It is not easy, but these communication techniques should help.
If you need a family lawyer, we have been working with families in the area for over 20 years and are here for you at Lafrance Law.