Last September, a West Virginia University (WVU) study examined communication strategies for divorced parents. According to WVU Today, the study found that communication between co-parents after a divorce should be short, sweet, and focused on the children. When it comes to healthy co-parent communications, WVU researchers recommend the following:
- Keep communication short and focused on the kids.
- Aim for a cooperative co-parenting relationship.
- Avoid confrontational or emotionally charged language.
According to the findings of the study, establishing clear boundaries and expectations for communication can help divorced parents successfully navigate co-parenting. The researchers suggest co-parents avoid discussing personal matters unrelated to the children. The study showed that keeping co-parent communication brief can reduce conflict and stress and that effective co-parent communication can benefit the well-being of both parents and children.
Tips for Effective Communication with Your Co-Parent After Divorce
Going through a divorce can be challenging, especially if you share children with your ex. Parenting after divorce requires cooperative communication between co-parents. Effective communication can be the difference between a positive or negative co-parenting experience. The following are tips for properly communicating with a co-parent following your divorce:
- Keep the conversation respectful. When you communicate with your co-parent, it's important to maintain respect for one another. Avoid saying things that may be offensive or confrontational, as it may lead to an argument. If you feel your emotions getting the best of you, take a deep breath and remind yourself of the importance of maintaining a good rapport with your co-parent.
- Use the right mode of communication. There are several modes of communication available to co-parents, including text messages, phone calls, email, and in-person communication. Consider which mode is appropriate for each situation. For instance, if you need to discuss something that requires a long conversation or complex discussions, it's best to opt for a phone call or in-person communication.
- Focus on details. It’s essential to be specific when you communicate with your co-parent. Share details about what has been agreed upon and the expectations you have for one another. Writing down important information and keeping a record of it is also important. This will help to ensure you both stay on the same page and avoid potential conflicts.
- Listen attentively. Listening to your co-parent’s thoughts and opinions shows that you respect their position. It helps in avoiding misunderstandings and finding common ground. Make an effort to understand their perspective, ask direct questions, and acknowledge their concerns.
- Stay focused on your kids. Remember, the reason you are communicating with your co-parent is for the well-being of your kids. Put your children's needs first and stay focused on their best interests. By keeping your children as the priority of your communication, you will find it easier to come to an agreement.
Co-parenting after a divorce may be difficult, but it doesn't have to be impossible. Make communication a priority, keeping in mind that it's the foundation of good co-parenting. Maintaining respectful communication, using an appropriate mode of communication, getting into specifics, listening attentively, and keeping your kids as the primary focus puts you on the right track to a positive co-parenting relationship. These steps will help to lower your stress levels and ensure you both work as a team and maintain a strong bond with your children after the divorce.
Sutton & Janelle, PLLC has been successfully helping clients in West Virginia and Maryland with divorce, child custody issues, and parenting plans since 1999. Call us at (304) 867-0049 or connect with us online today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced family law attorneys. To learn more about our firm, read our clients’ reviews.