I heard a journalist say recently that “there’s a vicious and respect less way of communicating that’s reserved exclusively for the ‘divorced with children’”. Ouch, that hurt!

I heard a journalist say recently
that “there’s a vicious and respect less way of communicating that’s reserved
exclusively for the ‘divorced with children’”. Ouch, that hurt! Probably
because it’s so true. It doesn’t have to be like that and for the sake of
building a bridge with our children’s other parent here are some ground-rules
for practicing how to play fare. (For the sake of ease here, I’m going to
assume that we’re talking about divorce or separation and that the children
have residence with their mum; their dad having moved to a separate home).

1.  Focus on the Present and the Future
Conversations between separated Mums and Dads about the past often get heated,
stressed and even dangerous. Ideally, you want to get to a point where your
communication is calm and actively contributes to a positive future. If you
have unresolved issues relating to your past relationship, you must find a way
to process these independently to your conversations with your ex. Find a good
counselor, a qualified friend or family member (i.e. they know how to keep you
moving forward and are not going to spend time just agreeing with you), or an
anger-management therapist – whoever it is, work through your feelings about
your ex-partner in a constructive and forward-focused way in your own time.

2.    Focus on the Children’s Wellbeing
Remember that regardless of what you think about your child’s other parent,
your child loves you both and is not a pawn. Try to encourage a good
relationship with their dad after he’s moved away and build up the time your
children spend with him to a level where everyone’s happy. Initially it may be
that the children just want to be in familiar surroundings for the majority of
the time. Encourage and equip them to talk about how they feel and be aware not
to manipulate or colour their thinking. Asking what they want is a good start,
however sometimes they will have to be stretched out of their comfort zone
(like they may just have to go and spend the weekend at Dad’s flat) for the
long-term benefit of all their relationships.

3.    Give Yourself a Time Limit for Conversations
If you find that your tolerance level for being civil to your ex-partner is
limited, then make sure you only talk in short blocks of time. Practice, ‘doing
diaries’ in under 10 minutes. If you feel yourself start to get anxious, then
suggest that ‘we look at this again next week’.
 
4.    Get Comfortable With Not Concluding
Not all conversations about our children have to be concluded right now. Try to
plan ahead when negotiating access, holidays, saving for gifts, having your
children be at their friend’s parties, etc. Mention ahead of time that you’d
like to take the children to Cornwall, or you want to have them visit their Granny on her
birthday. This will allow time for both parties to consider the benefits for
the children and to consider what a compromise or re-negotiation might look
like.

5.    Be Respectful
Challenging though it might beBusiness Management Articles, talking to your ex with respect is the best way
to begin to change things for the better. I know how hard this can be –
especially in the early days; but it will get easier with practice and
persistence. You owe it to yourself and to your children and ultimately it will
reduce anxiety and increase happiness all round.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Broadley is a qualified executive coach and the
founder of www.SuccessfulSingleParenting.com

For more information and a FR*EE Special Report  “ The 5 Secrets for Successful Single
Parenting” visit: www.SuccessfulSingleParenting.com

Jennifer Broadley is a qualified executive coach and the
founder of www.SuccessfulSingleParenting.com