In many ways parenting living separately is similar to parenting living together. The ability of parents to communicate effectively is a vital element for successful coparenting. This is especially important for parents who live in separate households. The following ideas can help you you communicate in a constructive manner.
- Communication Guidelines
- Direct, open communication between parents regarding the children is best.
- Be respectful, courteous and responsive.
- Focus on the present and future, not the past.
- Address one issue at a time.
- Make requests, not demands.
- Avoid becoming polarized over who is “right” and who is “wrong”.
- Listen to, acknowledge and try to understand the other person’s perspective, even though you may not agree.
- If you have a concern, issue or decision to discuss, call the other parent. If the parent is not able to talk at that time, schedule a specific time to talk within a mutually agreed upon period of time.
- If either parent leaves a voice mail message or sends an e-mail to the other, s/he should clearly state the issue that needs to be discussed and the time frame within which a response is needed.
- If either parent leaves a voice mail message or sends an e-mail to the other, the latter parent should respond within a mutually agreed upon period of time.
- When one parent makes a request of the other, the latter parent should make every effort to accommodate that request. If you do, you are more likely to get a favorable response when you make a request.
- It is important to acknowledge each other for listening to one’s needs and concerns and for responding favorably to any requests.
- If the children raise an issue with one parent about the other, encouraged them to talk directly with that other parent. When appropriate, keep each other informed of any such issues.
- If the children make statements that raise concerns for either parent, address this with the other parent, being careful not to respond as though what the children said is accurate.
- Keep each other informed about significant events in one’s life (job, relationship, house, etc.) of which the children will be aware and/or by which they are effected. It is reassuring to children to know that their parents are communicating with each other.