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Tips for Being Able to Communicate With Your Ex-Spouse on Parenting Issues

Tips for Being Able to Communicate With Your Ex-Spouse on Parenting Issues

Even if you and your ex want nothing to do with one another on a personal level, you will still need to be able to communicate with your ex-spouse in a manner that is suitable to you both and will allow your child to thrive. While good communication skills may not come naturally to you (or your ex-spouse), you can always stand to learn and improve them in the period immediately following your divorce.

Let’s focus on tips to help you and your spouse improve your already existing communication skills.

1. Improving Your Ability to Communicate With Your Ex-spouse

To effectively communicate with your ex-spouse, especially regarding your child, it’s crucial to stay focused and avoid distractions. Remember, the primary goal is your child’s wellbeing, not rehashing past conflicts.

Be concise and stick to the necessary topics about your child. Understandably, lingering emotions from your past relationship may surface, but managing these feelings is vital to maintaining a healthy environment for your child. Keep your sights set on the future and prioritize your child’s needs in your discussions.

When I am sending an email, whether it is to my boss, a co-worker, or an opposing attorney, I am always polite. Even if the email I am responding to is less than polite, I choose to look the other way and communicate positively and respectfully. Nobody benefits from my being harmful or disrespectful. Often an angry or updated opposing attorney will vent their frustrations with me in n email and will want nothing more than for me to come back at them with an angry reply.

I’ve found that if you approach people with courtesy, kindness, and respect, any emotionally laden situation can be diffused, and cooler heads will typically prevail. If you find yourself in a position where you need to communicate information or updates to your ex-spouse, do so respectfully as you would working with a co-worker. There is no need to be overly “nice” or anything like that, but showing respect is not asking too much.

2. Maintain Composure in All Communication

It is tempting to want to jump to conclusions about your spouse when you learn a piece of information about their behavior regarding your child or you. It is normal to assume the worst and prepare for interaction with this mindset.

If something negative happens to you or your child due to the failure to communicate well, there are two reasons that the adverse event took place. The first is that your ex-spouse could be purposefully hiding information or could be providing misleading or false information. From my experience, I must say, this occurs in rare instances.

Most of the time, adverse events due to communication gaps likely happen because your ex-spouse forgets to mention something important. For example, if they didn’t tell you about a last-minute party, it probably wasn’t to embarrass you, but more likely because they simply forgot to mention it.

That doesn’t make it any less frustrating and doesn’t excuse the failure of communication. It does, however, further cement the idea that communication is as much about effort as it is about anything else. It takes work to communicate well, and this means that you and your ex-spouse will need to work together to improve your communication skills. While working on these skills, do not assume the worst in your ex-spouse. This sort of behavior will cause your ex-spouse to do the same towards you.

3. To Be Unclear Is to Be Unkind

Tips for Being Able to Communicate With Your Ex-Spouse on Parenting Issues

When you ask your ex-spouse to do something for your child, make it clear what you are asking and your expectations. If there is a deadline or a timeline that needs to be stuck, make sure they are aware of those deadlines and the consequences of failing to abide by them.

I’ve written before about providing timely information to your ex-spouse to allow them a reasonable amount of time to meet a deadline or complete something with your child. You forced your ex-spouse to speed through a school project because you only mentioned it to them a day before the deadline, which is unfair to everyone involved.

If your request is lengthy, you can communicate it to your spouse in person, but always follow up the conversation with an email or text message where you can memorialize your agreement in writing. This way, there is no question about what the expectations are. Also, your ex-spouse can always read through the message again to refresh their memory on anything that needs to be done.

4. Be Respectful and Always Ask; Never Dictate.

When you request something for your child, it’s important to be mindful of your approach. It’s easy to sound demanding or dictatorial, especially when you’re passionate about your child’s needs. Instead of demanding action from your ex-spouse, respectfully ask for their assistance.

To ensure your request doesn’t come across as a demand, consistently use polite words like “please” and “thank you.” These small courtesies might seem basic, but they’re often overlooked and can significantly impact the overall tone of your communication. Remember, focusing on these little things can make resolving bigger issues much smoother.

Final Thoughts

The Inner Wolf You Neglect Could Cost You Everything!

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week. One of our licensed family law attorneys would be honored to speak to you about your issues and our office’s services to you as a client.

In conclusion, effective communication with your ex-spouse about parenting hinges on staying focused, prioritizing your child’s needs, and managing personal emotions. By maintaining a clear, concise, and child-centered approach, you can navigate these conversations constructively for the benefit of your child’s wellbeing.

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