Improving Co-Parenting Communication – Divorced Girl Smiling

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During a separation or after a divorce, it can be hard for former partners to maintain any kind of relationship. Yet in situations where children are involved, parenting does not end even if the relationship does. Therefore, working to build and maintain positive co-parenting communication skills is valuable.


If you find yourself feeling as though you could improve your co-parenting communication skills, here are four tips to consider:


Share About Your Kids

It might not be easy, but it is important to share information about your children with your co-parent. When you do communicate, try not to get emotional, and keep the conversation focused on what you’d like your ex to know about the kids. You don’t have to be overly friendly or fake, and even though it might be challenging, try not to be rude or angry. If you treat the conversation as if you are talking to a business associate, it helps.


Again, focus on what needs to be discussed about your children, not on old arguments or your personal lives. Share what needs to be shared, and save your other thoughts for your family, friends, divorce coach and/or therapist. These individuals provide a safe space to express and work through your emotions during this tough time.


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If you happen to have something on your mind that has to do with the legal aspects of parenting after divorce, you should consider bringing that to the attention of your attorney before discussing with anyone else.


Keep Each Other Updated

Children are constantly growing and evolving, and their agendas become more complex all the time. When parents aren’t on the same page about important details concerning their kids–ranging from their everyday schedules and clothing sizes to vital medical details, the children may experience negative consequences as a result.


For example, let’s say the kids were with Dad when the basketball coach announced practice was changed next week from 5pm to 4pm. Dad forgets to tell Mom. Mom shows up with the kids at 5pm to find that practice is just ending.


This would not be a good situation for Mom, Dad, or the kids.  That hurts the kids! An app like OurFamilyWizard would have made is easy for Dad to send a message to Mom about the change or update their shared calendar with new details.


Also, maintaining shared records that are frequently updated will assure parents that they are both referring to the same information for their children instead of running the risk of using different or outdated records. This is so important when it comes to doctor’s appointments.


Moreover, having it all in one place as opposed to searching for details in dozens of long emails or text message strings will make finding the right information faster for both parents. The Info Bank on the OurFamilyWizard app can be the perfect place for storing all of these records!



Listen To One Another

Another big co-parenting communication skill is listening. Listening plays a huge role in communication in any relationship, but it’s so important in co-parenting.We understand that one of the reasons people get divorced is because they had a hard time communicating effectively. That said, it’s never too late to learn how to listen for the children’s sake.


When co parents are talking AT each other, it’s be hard to make much progress on reaching resolutions and deciding the best course of action for the children. Instead, try to respect your ex when he or she is suggesting an idea or talking about what he or she thinks is best for the kids. Even if you disagree, listen, let the person finish and then give your opinion. Effective communication and listening  leads to joint decisions being made more quickly and successfully.


Sometimes, parents might find it easier to do this when using a written means of communication or another tool that helps break down certain request to just the facts with less room for frivolous other comments to be made. This is another benefit of OurFamilyWizard: it helps you focus on the topic in question so that you can respond thoughtfully.


Think Before Communicating

High emotions sometimes cause  words to slip out without  much thought to their consequences and negative results.


One skill to put into practice involves taking a moment to think about what to say before speaking. Contemplate how best to express what you need to in the most productive way possible, as to not engage in any more conflict. While written means of communication can help you to see what you’ll say before actually saying it, it is valuable to thoroughly access your tone.


OurFamilyWizard’s app includes a Messages feature with a built-in tool to help analyze the tone of messages you draft. ToneMeter™ will give you feedback about how your tone may be received and give you a chance to reframe it before sending.


Co-parenting communication skills are all built up by maintaining patience, trying not to get emotional during conversations, avoiding bringing up the past and anything else that is causing resentment, and always thinking about the betterment of the children. OurFamilyWizard can help provide you with the tools you need to make sure you communicate effectively, and that your kids thrive both during divorce and in your post-divorce life.

Rebecca Perra
Rebecca Perra, Divorce Attorney, Judicial Education Coordinator, OurFamilyWizard

Rebecca Perra is a family law attorney as well as a family law and dependency mediator. She also serves as the Judicial Education Coordinator for OurFamilyWizard. In this role, she educates judges, lawyers, and other family law professionals on the online tools that are used to reduce conflict and increase accountability in high-conflict co-parenting situations.

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