Co-parenting is difficult even if you sincerely want to stay on good terms with your ex. Many challenges arise due to a combination of factors: lack of proper communication, resentment, mixed feelings, and financial issues such as child support.
Keep in mind that both of you want the best for your child. You are both obliged to try to act as a team. Here are 5 rules for communicating with your co-parent ex, including appropriate boundaries, that could help you to avoid conflict.
1. Communicate When Required
Even if you may have had a divorce from hell and you would prefer to never hear from him or her again, that is not an excuse to stop communication. Separation involving a child or children is not an ordinary break up. You don’t have the right to simply forget that your ex ever existed.
I mean, even now you can try to forget that the two of you were ever romantically involved. But you mustn’t ignore them as a co-parent of your child. You still have something in common – the most important person (persons) in your lives: your kid(s).
2. Don’t Use Your Child Like a Professional Messenger
That is not what we meant when we said that you have to communicate! You should spare your child from details and don’t give them the burden of being the mediator between you. There are helpful apps that can help with passing info without having to involve a child.
Also, when you have your child transferring messages to each other, confusion and misunderstanding can follow very easily. Some things have to be solved between co-parents and children shouldn’t be involved.
3. Keep an Open Mind About Your Ex’s Intentions
You don’t talk as often as you did before and communication is usually via text or phone, which leaves a lot of space for misinterpretation. Try not to jump to conclusions before you know the whole story. Timtab has a communication plan to help any co-parent engage with the other parent without conflict.
If you think they did something wrong regarding your child, their needs or education, give your ex an opportunity to explain themselves. Maybe things aren’t what they seem to be. Hear their side before you condemn their actions. In other words, don’t be too judgemental!
4. Keep Your Ex Appropriately Informed
They deserve to know everything important regarding their child. It would be unfair to avoid telling them things. Failing to communicate will affect negatively not only on your relationship with your ex, but your child too. And that is something you definitely want to avoid at all costs.
You would be angry if your discovered that your co-parent ex was hiding important things from you. So, he/her has the right to be angry too.
Sharing information doesn’t mean you have to give up on being discrete. Children see and hear a lot and, usually, they are unafraid to share. Certain things, such as your love life, should normally be kept private from everyone except perhaps, say, your closest friend.
5. Respect Their Interests and Parenting Style
The two of you probably don’t have the same priorities in life. Maybe that’s why you’re divorced. But, if your ex finds it important that your child plays sport or play an instrument, and the child likes that activity too, you have no right to complain or devalue the activity.
The other parent has the right to decide how are they going to spend time with your kid. As long as the child likes it and there is nothing wrong or dangerous, you have no real right to object. Be respectful and communicate nicely. Hopefully, you will get the same in return.