[A]fter the relationship or divorce is over one of the hardest things you are going to have to do is continue brief and amicable communication with your Ex. Depending on where you are in your custody situation and the temperatures of your relationship, short letters may be the best methods of expressing information. Before we get into the semantics of what a simple note looks like, let’s discuss how NOT to write your Ex.
1. Mistakes with the Ex: Using Your Child as a Messenger.
One of the biggest mistakes made by both sides in a co-parenting situation is using Johnny as a “go between” communicator. Your children should not bear the burden of having to remember or negotiate any custody or unsettled matter between you and the Ex. Depending on the message this may place your daughter in an uncomfortable situation, your son could forget the message, or finally the children could miss-communicate the message all together.
2. Mistakes with the Ex: Not Communicating Your Concerns At All.
Parenting and communicating in a perfectly happy nuclear family is hard. Getting two loving parents to talk and agree about issues and child rearing is tough enough on the best of terms. In co-parenting relationship, many times one side or the other just flat fails to pass important information to the other parent. It is easier not to talk than deal with conflict. Illness, your son’s feelings or concerns, puberty, behavior, and schedules need to be discussed regularly.
3. Mistakes with the Ex: Involving Your Ill Feelings Toward Your Ex in the Discussion.
The main reason I am an advocate of a short written letters, is co-parenting Moms and Dads cannot usually discuss the simplest of things without bring their own hurt feelings into the mix.
[tweet “When talking 2 the EX, check your feelings at the door, & focus on Johnny.”]
4. Mistakes with the Ex: Fighting in Front of the Kids.
Intense moment in a co-parenting relationship come when you exchange children back and forth. Remember this transition is even harder on your kids. The emotions involved in going from Mom’s house to Dad’s house or vice versa are difficult. Furthermore, your children want the exchange to go quickly and smoothly. The last things your kids need to witness are two intense parents having a fight or heated discussion during drop off. Don’t do it, write a note instead.
5. Mistakes with the Ex: Kids Don’t Need to Know Most Things.
Probably the final reason not to communicate in front of the kids is children do not need to witness the verbal laundry of some issues. Jill needing to wear a bra, Johnny’s three cavities, your ex’s tardiness or unwillingness to pay her child support, is not a topic for “little ears” to hear.
What mistakes have you made? What additional suggestions would you add?