Healthy Communication Practices For Co-Parents
Consider on a personal level exploring if what you want to share with your co-parent is pertinent to co-parenting or does it lean to the past relationship.
A common area that hurts co-parents in fostering a healthy relationship is bringing up the past challenges and wounds of the prior relationship. As well as discussing areas that are not pertinent to co-parenting when they do not hold the stability or skill to do so.
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Below is the case study of Jeff and Jordan. Please review it to gain a deeper understanding of how the past can hurt the present.
During one particular counseling session, Jordan interrupted Jeff and shared “this is exactly what you would do when we were married. You are always thinking about yourself.” Jeff replied by simply looking at Jordan and then shifting his direction to me. I asked Jordan if he could expand on his comment. Jordan shared “for 10 of the 15 years of our relationship he would do that. He would ignore me. Just like now. I sent him the text asking where the soccer game was at and he didn’t reply back until 20 minutes later.” I thanked Jordan for sharing. I then shifted and asked Jeff if he could provide his perspective. Jeff shared “I get it. I know what happened in our marriage. I accept that. I did ignore you during our relationship. I own that. However, when you texted me recently. I was not ignoring you. I was on the phone and replied to you as soon as I ended the conversation.”
In the example above, you are able to identify one key factor. The case highlights how issues in the past relationship filter right into the current co-parenting relationship. This action can directly hurt the co-parenting relationship.
Helping Co-Parents Stop Fighting
Step 1: Questions to explore:
- Write down topics that you feel are appropriate to discuss with your co-parent.
- Write down topics that you feel are not appropriate to discuss with your co-parent.
Before sharing what you have written down, take a moment to consider how pertinent your response is to parenting. Successful co-parents are able to clearly distinguish between what is pertinent to co-parenting and what is not. When the line is blurred, it becomes very challenging to maintain healthy communication.
Do your due diligence on an individual level to ensure that the line is not blurred. At the start and end of the day, you can only control yourself. Working with a counselor is a great way to bring in a neutral third party that can support you every step of the way.