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What to do when communicating with your co-parent is difficult

When you're in the midst of a painful separation or divorce, communicating in a civil manner with your co-parent can be challenging. However, the two of you need to maintain some sort of communications regarding your children, no matter how challenging it may be for you.

Until you've developed your parenting plan and settled the details of who will be handling what responsibilities, you may need to be in touch more than you will in the future. However, you can maintain a workable co-parenting relationship during this time if you both try.

Focus on the important matters. This includes things like the kids' schedules, medical appointments and school issues. Stick to the matter at hand that you're discussing, and don't use these conversations to bring up other issues or frustrations.

Listen to or read what your co-parent says carefully before you respond. Speaking face to face or on the phone may be challenging, but things can get misinterpreted when they're put in a text or email. If you're upset about something your co-parent has written, give yourself some time to calm down and reflect on it before you respond.

You two have a lot of history, much of it possibly negative. It's easy to assume that your co-parent means something negative when that's not the case. If you're not sure what he or she means, ask.

Fortunately, there are a number of apps that make co-parenting more organized and allow both of you to stay informed about your children's lives and well-being without having to be in constant communication.

If the two are you are still having problems co-parenting, talk with your attorney. He or she may be able to recommend a family therapist or suggest some changes to your parenting plan that can help you avoid confrontations while emotions are still running high.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "5 Tips on How to Be a Civil Communicator in Co-Parenting," accessed July 27, 2017

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