Avoid unnecessary parenting conflicts by improving communication skills

By learning to effectively communicate with their children’s other parent, people can avoid unnecessary legal conflicts and battles.

It is a common fact that about half of all marriages in the U.S. now end in divorce and in many cases, children are involved. For divorcing parents in Wellesley, the end of a marriage relationship is not the end of their relationship with each other. USA Today states that courts are beginning to realize the importance of both parents in a child's life and as such, are embracing the concept of co-parenting.

While child custody arrangements were often centered on parents' interests and desires, now courts are basing their rulings on what is in the best interest of the child. For parents whose relationship did not end on amicable terms, this can create potentially contentious situations. According to Psych Central, one study indicates that mothers were critical of their ex's parenting skills, especially if there were unresolved problems from the marriage.

Putting children first

It can be easy for parents to feel a need for revenge or justice if they have been wronged in their romantic relationship with the other parent. However, when children are involved, these negative feelings can have a dramatic impact on children's self-worth and ability to deal with the divorce. Children may feel that they are the reason for their parents' arguing or divorce. They may also follow their parents' examples in future relationships.

Parents need to be able to set aside their personal grievances against the other parent and think and act in a way that will benefit their children. HelpGuide suggests approaching the parenting relationship as a business relationship with the children as the objective. This involves accepting the fact that the other parent will always be in their life and will be present at life events such as birthdays, graduations, weddings and the births and events of future grandchildren.

Learning how to communicate in a healthy way

One of the biggest problems in relationships is communication and this is no different when it comes to parents. Learning how to communicate with the other parent can eliminate unnecessary disputes and help parents learn how to support one another, despite the demise of their marriage. The Family Academy states that there are several ways to improve communication skills and these involve the following:

  • Use reflective listening - people use language that shows the other parent they are listening to their concerns and feelings.
  • Use a script when planning to communicate with the other parent - this will help keep the conversation on track and avoid sensitive topics
  • Create a parenting plan to set up schedules, house rules to be followed, who will pay for what and who will make which decisions
  • Keep personal feelings and opinions out of the conversation unless they relate to the children - parents should not talk about their personal life or try to pry into the other parent's personal choices unless it will affect their children.

If parents are unable to verbally communicate with the other parent, they can use other means of communication such as text messages, emails and even a neutral third party or mediator. Parents should never use their children to convey messages to each other as this will put the child in the middle of a potential conflict.

If parents in Wellesley encounter a conflict that cannot be resolved in an amicable manner, they may find it helpful to meet with an attorney.

Keywords: divorce, family law, child, custody, visitation