Communication: the Foundational Tip for Healthy Co-Parenting

This month Melissa Pearce & Associates is starting a new thing. I will be recording some video tips for our clients and prospective clients. On Mondays, I will share some co-parenting tips. The tip for today is very simple: find a way to communicate.

You know you cannot co-parent with that other parent unless you are communicating. There are so many things to communicate you need to communicate from sports schedules to extracurricular activities. Right now, during the virus restrictions is a prime example of the importance of communication between parents. Parents need to communicate like basic things. I had a client who at the beginning of the state’s shut down in March needed to re-work parenting time for the health and safety of the children. This parent works in the front line: the healthcare industry. The client’s job placed the client and the children at a greater risk of being exposed to the virus home. So, the client asked the other parent to rearrange parenting time for the time being. This meant an end temporarily to in-person visits. The client communicated that the primary motivation was preventing the spread of the virus to my children, which is a very loving and caring thing to do. But my client still wanted to have contact with children. So, both parents were able to sit down and work out a schedule amongst themselves, which is a really great thing if you are co-parenting. You do not need the judge, you do not need lawyers, you do not need referees or anyone else to tell you how to co-parent because you know your children best. These two parents were able to sit down and talk about what would work and they came up with a really good video call schedule for their children to maintain contact with the other parent.

If you have young children, around the age of 2, they are not going to sit on the call for a long time. It does not have to be a long time for the video call. However, you may need to do more frequent phone calls, maybe a call in the morning and a call at night. It could just be a quick call to say good night. When talking about quick call to say good night, maybe what you do is set the child up with your iPad to have a video call with the other parent. The child holds the iPad and the other parent is on the call, and they are reading a bedtime story. You can share the pages by holding them up to the camera. It is a great way to spend time with our kids.

So, if you are going to co-parent, you need to learn how to communicate. You do not have to be best friends, but you do need to communicate. You need to communicate things about health, education, extracurricular activities, and daily problems. It can be hard raising kids, especially in those teenage years. Sometimes you just need to say to the other parent, you did this when you were married, “I need a break, maybe it is time you take the child and see if you can help resolve the issue.” Sometimes our kids just need the other parent and we need to be able to communicate that. Simply tell the other parent that you know the child is going through a really hard time and you believe that the child needs some time with the other parent. This is healthy communication. You cannot force the other parent to be on the same page or place that you are at. All you can do is reach out and communicate but if the other parent is not responding that is not your fault. It is not your responsibility. So, keep that in mind.

Remember, my tip for today is learn how to communicate and establish good communication habits with the other parent that does not bring in animosity into your conversations. There are multiple ways to communicate. In fact, come back tomorrow, because on Tuesdays, I will be sharing with you tips on how to communicate effectively with the other parent to minimize conflict in your divorce, and after the divorce is final.

Watch more of our tips on our YouTube Channel.

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