Reflections & Insight

10 Ways To Reduce Stress When Talking To Your Ex About The Kids

<em>by </em>BARTHOLOMEW &amp; WASZNICKY<em> on </em>JANUARY 4, 2013

Some couples co-parent with ease, while other couples can feel their blood pressures rise at the mere thought of their ex. When it comes to co-parenting and interacting with your former partner, here are 10 ways to lower stress when you have to talk to your ex about the kids:
<li>Discuss and agree on how much contact you both want with and from each other when it comes to the children. If you reach an impasse, find a way to compromise; perhaps a relative or friend can help.</li>
<li>The more communication you have with your ex over the small issues regarding the kids, the less likely you will have to deal with major problems later. Select days/times for phone, email or in-person visits. Use a notebook between the two of you, make note of important activities and list who’s responsible for what on each day, week or month.</li>
<li>Foster flexibility and cooperation between the two of you as co-parents so that if one of you is in a jam and needs help with the kids or needs to change the visitation schedule, the other parent can jump in and help.</li>
<li>Think of dealing with your ex as you would a business colleague. Keep the conversation “professional” rather than personal, and you will be less likely to say something you or your children will regret.</li>
<li>Don’t put the kids in the middle and ask your children to carry messages to the other parent or ask them to set up arrangements or change the schedule. Adults need to deal with adults on these matters.</li>
<li>If conflicts arise, deal with them immediately and discuss it in private, away from the children. Delaying just makes everything more difficult.</li>
<li>When speaking with a hostile ex you will likely be drawn into an argument and nothing will get resolved. Limit communication to text messages and email. It’s easier to choose what to respond to and delete knee-jerk reactions before you send them. <strong>Remember,</strong> texting and emails are permanent records that can be subpoenaed. Be careful about what you type &amp; think before you press “send.”</li>
<li>If your child has a medical issue or if there is trouble at school, inform the other parent immediately. Also, when your child does well in school or sports, let your ex know so your child’s successes can be celebrated by both parents.</li>
<li>Realize that your parenting style may be different than your ex’s. Learn to accept the differences and make certain your children understand the rules are different in each household so what is okay in one, may not be acceptable in the other.</li>
<li>During times that you find it exceedingly difficult to communicate with or see your ex as you co-parent, remind yourself to be grateful you only have to communicate with them regarding the children and not share the other aspects of your life with them.</li>
<strong>The bottom line is that you remember to always be the parent who follows the Golden Rule of life:</strong>

<strong>Treat your ex the same way you want him or her to treat you!</strong>

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