Tips for family communication
Lack of communication is at the top of the causes-of-divorce list and unfortunately communication challenges often persist even after a marriage has dissolved. This might not pose a problem if you and your ex cut ties and avoid all contact. But if you have children with your ex, severing contact is usually not an option. Although eliminating interaction with your kids’ mother isn’t an option, there are some tactics you can use to improve communication after divorce and protect the interests of your children.
“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” —Confucius
Taking the time to organize your thoughts and the pertinent topics that need to be addressed with your ex can go a long way towards minimizing stress and conflict. A simple way to prepare is to make a list of the key points you would like to discuss with your ex. After you have written down your list, take a moment to anticipate how your ex will respond to each topic and rehearse a few responses that will keep the conversation on track and positive. This preparation and rehearsal will allow you to stay focused on the task at hand and accomplish your communication goals.
Keep the kids front and center
There is a reason you got divorced and it can be easy to get hung up on the issues that contributed to the dissolution of your marriage. But now that the marriage is over, it is important to not let old arguments get in the way of effective communication. Keeping the best interest of your kids at the center of all communication with your ex will help avoid slipping into old habits and disagreements. If you find yourself falling into old communication patterns with your ex, it can be helpful to take a step back and reevaluate the purpose of your conversation. If the conversation isn’t related to your children, take a timeout and agree to shelf the issue. Communication that is focused and business like can reduce tension and keep your interaction productive.
Many people find dealing with their ex-wife face to face frustrating. Even with the best intentions and planning, communication can easily digress into a heated argument or stalemate. Using technology to minimize face to face contact can be advantageous for those that struggle with traditional communication. Email, text messaging and online shared calendars can streamline the exchange of information, limit your interaction with your ex, ensure positive co-parenting is happening and the children’s best interests are protected.
Communication is challenging, even more so when it is with your ex. Using these three tactics will help facilitate more productive interactions so you can stay focused on what is truly important —your children. We would love to hear your tips for navigating communication with your ex, leave them in the comments section below.