Sharing custody of a child after a divorce or separation brings many challenges. You and your co-parent must try to put aside any negative thoughts or feelings toward one another and focus on parenting your child.
This can be difficult, especially if it was a bitter divorce or breakup. You may want nothing more than to never speak to your co-parent again, but when you are raising a child together, that is impossible.
There are many strategies you can use to help maintain healthy, productive communication with your co-parent. This will decrease stress and anxiety in your child and help them remember that you both love them.
Focus the conversation on your child
Your communication should be respectful and revolve around your child. You might still be emotionally fragile or working through grief from your breakup but put those feelings aside when talking to your co-parent.
You do not have to like your co-parent to communicate with them. If it helps, try to treat your interactions with them like a business or professional relationship.
Choose the right communication method
Today’s technology allows parents a diverse range of communication options. Pick the one that works best for your situation.
Many parents choose to communicate only through text message to avoid potential conflict during telephone or in-person conversations. Others choose to use a software program specifically designed for co-parent communication.
Don’t communicate through your child
One method you should never choose is your child. Do not use your child as a go-between to communicate messages between you and your co-parent, even as they get older.
Doing this puts them in the middle of adult problems and can make them feel like any conflict is their fault. Using any type of third party also increases the potential for miscommunication.
Don’t fight in front of your child
It is inevitable that sometimes you will have disagreements with your co-parent. Do not fight or discuss these in front of your child. This, too, can make your child feel like the problem is their fault.
Sharing custody is rarely easy, but with these tips and the advice of a trusted professional, you can cultivate a co-parenting relationship that is in the best interest of your child.