Trying to remain civil towards your ex without letting your emotions get the better of you is not easy.
Leyla Balakhane, a respected divorce mediator based in the US gives some sage advice and tips to help divorced couples communicate with each other especially when there are children involved.
The following is the advice she offers.
You need to take into account how the children are doing and make sure the conversation with your ex is structured in a way that benefits the kids. It will be easier for you to communicate with your ex if you place your children above any emotions you may feel after the divorce.
Choose your battles carefully. Some issues are not worth fighting over.
Try not to attribute blame on your ex which will simply put your ex in a defensive mode. People are more cooperative when they do not feel like they are being attacked. Change strategies by defining the purpose of your message. Accusations merely prevents any chance of meaningful and peaceful communication. Once one fighting word is wielded, another is sure to follow. If you say “The kids aren’t doing well in school because you don’t care enough to discipline them when they receive poor grades,” the other spouse is not likely to respond positively. When harsh words are directed at a person, it is impossible to tackle a problem without fighting or hurting someone’s feelings. While the problem may or may not be someone’s fault, you should focus on the problem. Keeping conversations clear of personal attacks will not only help ex-spouses maintain effective communication, it will also nurture mutual respect.
Make a conscious effort to not only hear, but understand the entire message being relayed to you. It’s important to be objective and non-judgmental when listening to the other person.
It’s also important to being empathetic. Recognize that we all make mistakes, go through difficult times or have differences in opinion. If your ex is experiencing stress, see things from his or her point of view. It will be easier to parent your children together if you try to understand your spouse’s concerns, problems, etc.
Interaction with your ex’s family is inevitable as your child is connected to both sides of their family. Respect your ex’s family. It’s in everyone’s best interest to get along for the happiness and well-being of the children. Important milestone events in the life of your child, think graduations, engagements, weddings, can be unnecessarily scarred if you allow simmering tensions with your ex to go unchecked.
Being polite and courteous to your ex is good for you and is definitely good for your children.
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