Co-Parenting Communication: Eliminating Conflict for Your Child’s Wellbeing

There’s no denying that co-parenting after a high conflict divorce is riddled with challenges. Smaller, aspects, such as communicating your child’s wellbeing can become near impossible, often leading to nasty arguments.

How often have you called your ex to inquire after your child’s progress, only to be greeted by hostility and unkind words? Frequent texting leads to disagreements, and ultimately arguments.

However, communication is key, an essential part of co-parenting. Despite these challenges, it is possible to continue staying connected to your kids, while maintaining an amicable relationship with your ex.

Developing A System That Works

Over the course of our practice, as court approved parent coordinators, we’ve worked in alliance with numerous parents going through a tough divorce. In our mission to assist them toward a content post-divorce life, we attained a deeper insight of their most common challenges and concerns of communicating with their exes. Thus, evolved the idea of a Structured Weekly Email Format, designed specifically to facilitate and streamline effective communication between you and your former partner. Here is how it works:

A Structured Form of Communication

For communication that is not urgent or time sensitive, the structured weekly email format for all parenting related communication is the perfect tool! As per this structure, the most important details of the child’s life are conveyed, and the frequency of the communication is controlled at the same time.

So, you don’t have to be bothered by your bulk texts, or emails; instead a proper system that communicates the essentials will be sufficient. This email exchange usually occurs on a custody transition day and is initiated by the parent who has had the children in his/her care (for instance, Parent A).

The Structured Weekly Email in Play

To offer you a deeper understanding of the dynamics of this system, here is an example:

Parent A sends an email to Parent B:

FYI:

Jacob didn’t sleep well last night. I think he might be coming down with a cold.

Samantha has been having difficulty with her social studies homework.

RR (Response Required):

Jacob’s next field trip falls during your custody week. I would like to attend if you are not            planning on going. Please let me know.

Parent B then replies within 24 hours, addressing ONLY the RRs using the same format:

                Responses to RR:

I am planning on attending Jacob’s field trip.

FYI:

The children will be meeting my boyfriend’s children this week. Just wanted to give you a heads up, as we agreed to.

RR (Response Required):

Have you given Jacob any cold medicine? If so, what?

Parent A replies, but only to the RR’s.

No cold medicine given.

Keep It Short & Simple

The key to the success of this system will depend on how well it is developed. For instance, it is imperative that the content be free from any inflection, negative connotations and, or hostility. We understand that this might be difficult in the beginning. This is why, some parents have an objective family or friend review the email before it is sent out.

Secondly, the frequency of the email must be maintained at all times. Limit it down to three emails per week. This will eliminate any chances of an incessant back and forth exchange of emails.

A Focus on the bigger Picture

As a parent, you may want to be a part of your child’s life, however way you want. The Structured Weekly Email Format ensures that your goal of functional co-parenting communication is free of clashes.

For more parenting consultation services, please feel free to get in touch with us by calling us at, 919-539-4840, or email [email protected]. We take great pride in what we do, putting your interest first, and working toward helping your family through a challenging phase.

Jennifer Viemont, LCSW, is the owner of Triangle Parenting Solutions. She offers a wide range of services to help separated and divorced parents learn how to communicate and co-parent more effectively and to reduce the risk factors that influence children’s post-divorce adjustment.