10 Simple Communication Strategies for Divorced Parents
Courtesy of Rosalind Sedacca. Her site provides good information for divorcing parents. http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.
by Cindy Harari, Esq.
Cindy Harari, Esq. is my guest contributor this week. She offers valuable information about communicating with your ex that is effective and promotes healthy parenting relationships. My thanks for Cindy for her excellent advice. Rosalind Sedacca
One of many challenges faced by divorced parents is the dilemma of communicating with their child's other parent. Although the parents have decided to divorce and end their "personal" relationship, when children are involved, the dissolution of a marriage mirrors the end of a business relationship where the business partners (the parents) have produced a product or asset (the children) that remains after the termination of the business.
Even though the parents no longer wish to continue to "work together," they share the desire for their children (the priceless marital asset) to grow and thrive. Among other things, the success of the children requires divorced parents to communicate with each other about child-focused issues. So how do divorced parents communicate effectively about their children when they are angry or upset or would simply rather not speak with their child's other parent ever again? Read on...
1. Whenever possible, communicate in writing. Writing gives you the opportunity to clarify your thoughts and express yourself clearly. Also, in the event of a misunderstanding, everyone can go back and look at what is written. E-mails and faxes have the advantage of having a date and time embedded as well.
2. Stick to child-focused issues and keep your communication informative, not emotional.
3. Keep your communication clear. Use bullet points or numbers rather than paragraphs.
4. If an item requires a response, indicate when the response is necessary. Also state what action will be taken in the event the other parent does not respond. For example: Our son's class trip is on (date) and the cost is ($X). The permission slip is due on (date). Please let me know by (date) if this is OK with you. If I don't hear from you, I will sign the permission slip and you and I will split the cost.
5. Do not use your communication as an opportunity to re-hash your feelings about the subjects you are writing about. Remember - this is business communication about your children.
6. Divide your writing into sections such as "old business," "new business" and "FYI."
7. Respond to communication from your child's other parent as you would like to have them respond to you. Be prompt and businesslike.
8. Use e-mail (and all written communication) courteously. Do not write entirely in capital letters. Do not use boldface type. Do not use extremely large type. Do not use exclamation points. Stay away from sarcasm. No name-calling or bad language at any time.
9. Take the initiative so neither parent becomes the "communication liaison." Children's schools, day care providers, extracurricular activity providers, etc. should have contact information for both parents. Each parent should receive notices from these sources. If that is not happening, the parent who is not receiving the information can provide their contact information and get on the distribution list.
10. Look into online programs such as OurFamilyWizard and ShareKids for calendaring and communication. These programs are designed especially for divorced parents.
There is a time and a place for your emotional release regarding your divorce, but, at the same time, there is a need to conduct the business of raising your children with someone you would probably rather not talk to. So how do you find the strength to "take the high road" time after time and communicate calmly and effectively with your child's other parent?
Always remember that your child's wellbeing depends on what you do and how you do it. It takes work to compartmentalize your emotions and put the needs of your children first, but you can do it. You are not alone - there are many resources available for to help you grow through the divorce. Successful communication strategies are a great addition to your post-divorce parenting toolkit.
Cindy Harari, Esq. is an attorney, trained parenting coordinator, mediator, and arbitrator. Her professional training combined with years of practical experience gives Ms. Harari a unique perspective and distinctive insight regarding issues of divorce and parenting. For additional information, please visit www.solutionsnottalk.com. © 2008. Cindy Harari. All Rights Reserved.
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids ... about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children -- with Love! The book provides fill-in-the-blank templates for customizing a personal family storybook that guides children through this difficult transition with optimum results. For more information about the book, Rosalind's free articles and free ezine visit http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca 2008. All rights reserved.