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  • Writer's pictureReyna Chavez

Co-parenting During a Storm: Communication Tips to Keep You Afloat

Updated: Feb 7



Co-parenting is tough, even under the best of circumstances. Throw in a custody dispute, and things can feel like you're caught in a hurricane with your ex as the captain of the other ship. But fear not, fellow warriors of the shared-parenting trenches! Here are some communication strategies to help you navigate the stormy seas and keep your kids safe and dry (emotionally, at least).


1. Ditch the Blame Game, Embrace the "We" Team:

Remember, you're not rivals in some epic parenting throwdown. You're a team, united by the common goal of raising awesome humans. Instead of pointing fingers and hurling accusations, reframe your communication. Use "we" statements like "We need to find a solution that works for everyone" or "How can we work together to ensure our kids feel supported?" It might feel awkward at first, but shifting the focus to collaboration can calm the choppy waters.


2. "I Feel" Statements are Your Life Rafts:

Instead of launching into a tirade about your ex's "atrocious parenting choices," try "I feel frustrated when communication breaks down and it impacts the kids." Expressing your feelings without blaming the other person helps them understand your perspective and opens the door for empathy (hopefully!). Plus, it prevents you from sounding like a foghorn blaring negativity.


3. Pick Your Battles (and Communication Channels) Wisely:

Not every disagreement deserves a full-blown email war. For minor issues, stick to neutral, factual texts or brief phone calls. Save the more charged topics for calmer moments, maybe over a coffee (minus the caffeine-fueled meltdowns, please). And remember, some things are just not worth the fight. Focus on what truly matters for your children's well-being.


4. Listen Like You Mean It (Even When You Don't):

Yes, even if your ex is saying things that make you want to stuff your ears with seashells. Actively listening shows respect and opens the door for understanding, even if you disagree. Try summarizing what you heard to ensure you're on the same page (or at least different pages in the same book).


5. Focus on the Kids, Not Your Baggage:

This one's crucial. Don't use communication as a weapon to vent your frustrations about the past or drag up old hurts. Keep the focus on your children's needs and avoid using them as pawns in your emotional chess game. Remember, they're innocent bystanders in this storm, and their well-being should be your guiding star.


Bonus Tip: Don't Go It Alone:

Sometimes, even the best communication strategies need a boost. Consider seeking professional help from a therapist or mediator specializing in co-parenting. They can provide neutral ground, communication tools, and conflict resolution techniques to help you weather the storm together.

Remember, effective communication is a journey, not a destination. There will be bumps along the way, but with these tips and a little effort, you can navigate the choppy waters of co-parenting during a dispute and ensure your kids have a safe harbor in the midst of the storm.

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