5 Tips on How to Be a Civil Communicator in Co-Parenting

After a painful separation or divorce, knowing how to communicate with your former spouse or partner might not always feel very clear. While you might not want to have much to do with each other now, your children will always keep you connected on some level.

It's important to find new ways of communicating civilly in order to co-parent successfully. So how exactly can you reach this point if your communication is not always very civil right now? Here are a few tips to consider on how to be a civil communicator in co-parenting.

Share Important Details

When you're transitioning into co-parenting, you may find more success if you just focus on the important matters relating to your children without getting sidetracked by unrelated issues or conflicts. Share key details about your children's schedules as well as vital information like medical data, school records, and other crucial facts.

The clearer and more concise you can be with these facts, the better. It may also help to use tools that help you keep this information as organized as possible and accessible to both of you. Having the most relevant parenting details on hand will reduce the need to ask each other for information continually.

Have Discussions at the Right Time

When you need to discuss an important matter or come to a decision on something for your child, find the right moment and means through which to have the conversation. It will be important to save important or challenging discussions for moments in with you can both concentrate and focus on the matter at hand.

Work together as best you can to talk through the subject thoroughly and settle on a resolution, if one must be achieved. If you ever run into trouble reaching a decision, consider enlisting assistance from a neutral third-party. A mediator or other trained dispute resolution practitioner can be a helpful resource when discussing changes to your parenting plan, or working with a family therapist could be useful when having a difficult discussion related to your child.

Most importantly, keep these conversations out of your children's earshot. Work things out with your co-parent without putting your kids in the middle.

Let Go Of Assumptions

It can sometimes be hard not to make assumptions when having a conversation with someone, especially if it's someone whom you don't particularly like at the moment. You may find yourself walking into interactions with your co-parent believing that their points are incorrect or not as valid as yours right from the get-go.

Part of being a civil communicator means giving the other person in the conversation a chance to share their ideas so that you may contemplate them without jumping to conclusions. Do your best to let any assumptions go before communicating with your co-parent. If you're not sure what your co-parent is trying to tell you, ask questions that will help you get the answers you are looking for. 

Listen Attentively

While setting your assumptions aside will help you become a civil communicator in co-parenting, being a good listener will go right along with it. Listen well when communicating with your co-parent so that you don't miss anything.

If you don't always speak face-to-face or over the phone, read what they write to you carefully. Not doing so might lead to conflict and confusion that could have been avoided.

Don't Respond In Haste

When you think you already know the answer, you might feel an urge to respond right away. However, another part of being a civil communicator means that you should take some time to craft a thoughtful response, as opposed to blurting out an answer without thinking about it for a few moments.

When you receive a request from your co-parent, take the time to consider all of the factors surrounding the request before you respond. This is especially important when the information being shared by your co-parent leads to you feel tense or surprised. Depending on what you're learning at this moment, let yourself think about the facts for a few minutes, hours, or even a few days so that you can give a well thought out response. 

Being a civil communicator in co-parenting won't just help you to be more efficient at reaching agreements together as co-parents. It will also help you to become partners in raising your children to be as successful as possible. These strategies will help you to become a more civil communicator, but you can find even more tips on building effective communication skills here.