Initiating and maintaining communication with your ex- partner can be challenging. Although it may seem impossible, it all begins with your MIND – SET. Think about communication with your ex as having a higher purpose, that is ‘YOUR CHILD’S WELL BEING’.
Here are the practical methods of effective communication with your ex when co-parenting:
SET A BUSINESS – LIKE TONE
Treat your ex-partner as your ‘business partner’ and that ‘business’ is your ‘child’s well-being’.
Speak or write to your ex as you would do to your colleague- with cordiality, respect and neutrality.
Instead of making statements which can be misinterpreted as demands, try framing as much as you can as REQUESTS.
Requests can begin with ‘would you be willing to …………..’or ‘can we try………………………’
Even if you disagree with your ex- partner, you should be able to convey that you have understood his/her point of view.
Listening does not mean that you approve your ex’s opinion.
Keep in mind that communication with your ex is necessary for your child’s entire childhood- if not longer.
Train yourself not to overreact to your ex’s silly behaviour.
COMMIT TO MEET/TALKING CONSISTENTLY
This may be extremely difficult in the early years of your divorce/separation
Frequent communication conveys the message to your child that you and your ex are a UNITED FRONT.
KEEP CONVERSATION – CHILD – FOCUSSED
You can control the content of your communication
Never let discussions with your partner digress into a conversation about your or his/her needs. It should always be about your child’s needs only.
I hope you will learn a thing or two on how you can improve your communication with your ex for the benefit of your child.
Zama Boto- Family counsellor and mediation co-ordinator