Can you and your x-partner or spouse work together to achieve consistent co-parenting? It may seem difficult, almost impossible, but the answer is a definite yes. Communication for effective and consistent co-parenting can be practiced and learned by couples who want to provide a stable supportive environment for each other and the children after separation or divorce.
You and your ex may be fighting now more than ever. You may feel guilty about putting your children in a situation where they have to pick sides, or perhaps you are taking out your frustration with your x-partner on the children themselves. In some situations, one parent may allow certain behaviors or activities just to spite the other partner.
“Before we split up, we more or less agreed about bedtimes, homework and meals. My ex generally left it to me. Sometimes we would disagree but it wasn’t a big deal. When my kids come back from their father’s house, they tell me that they can stay up late, have dessert before dinner or watch as much television as they like.”
If you feel a lack of trust, things can get out of hand, unnecessary restrictions and resentment can occur. This is not good for the couple or the children.
If I take them on a hike on my weekend she has all sorts of requirements.
You may be angry at your co-parent for going against your wishes or your agreed-upon rules, frustrated that your children are getting mixed signals, and upset that your children seem to prefer your ex-partner. These feelings are legitimate. You can learn to be better co-parents by learning to communicate and listen effectively.
Listening and communicating does not always mean agreeing
Most of us are more open to negotiation after we feel that we have been heard and acknowledged. However, when we confuse acknowledgment with agreement, we can get stuck defending our position. Listening to your x-partner does not mean that you agree with them. However, after being heard and validated, one is much more likely to negotiate in a flexible manner. Negotiations with your ex are best done in a structured, calm environment.
Communication for Effective and Consistent Co-parenting
I can help you learn how to have structured conversations for those stressful negotiations.
At these times, your children need as much consistency as possible. This is an opportunity to model how to listen without necessarily agreeing and come to a decision respectfully. Call today or fill out the contact form and click send to get started on your path to better communication and consistent co-parenting.
Individual and couples therapy in New Jersey, Portland Maine and online
Dr. Dahlia Mann has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in Portland, Maine, and New Jersey. She also offers online therapy. Through therapy with Dr. Mann, you can learn how to share your feelings more effectively, listen to each other and get effective help with parenting as a couple or apart. You will be able to enjoy each other with infecting the present moment with old hurts. Call today, or fill out the contact form and click Send.