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Good communication important when co-parenting

One of the first major challenges divorcing couples with kids face upon splitting up is figuring out how time with the kids will be divided. One of the ways this issue is often addressed here in Florida is parents working together to reach a parenting plan agreement that sets terms regarding things like custody and visitation. Child custody attorneys can help divorcing parents navigate negotiations regarding parenting plans.

Even with the best parenting plan in place, co-parenting can have its challenges. One of the things that can help when it comes to such challenges is good communication. So, the focus of today's post will be communication tips for divorced parents.

One thing that co-parenting obviously involves is communication with one's ex-spouse. Such communication can sometimes be a little tense. Here are some things that may be able to help when it comes to communication with the ex:

  • Keeping co-parenting conversations with the ex focused on the kids. This can help keep such conversations from devolving into an unproductive situation in which both parents are verbally sparring over matters completely unrelated to the kids.
  • Avoiding matching unpleasantness with unpleasantness. It is possible that your ex might not always be the most tactful and considerate when communicating with you. In the face of such unpleasantness, you may be tempted to follow suit. However, fighting fire with fire in such a situation is one of the things that can cause the quality of communication to spiral downward rather quickly. The better approach can be to remain polite and well-mannered in your communication, regardless of how your ex is acting.
  • Not assuming everything your ex does or says is personal. A trap a divorced parent sometimes falls into is thinking that everything that their ex says or does that irks them was specifically aimed at upsetting them. This can be an emotionally harmful habit and could make good communication that much more difficult.

Another type of communication that is important when it comes to co-parenting is communication with the kids. One particularly challenging communication situation that can arise for a divorced parent is figuring out what to say to the kids when the ex-spouse is running late or fails to show up for their time with the kids. In such situations, the best approach is often to be honest, but in a way that takes age-appropriateness and the children's feelings into account.

Source: The Huffington Post, "The Co-Parenting Cheat Sheet," Honoree Corder, June 3, 2014

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