Who doesn’t love sitting down to emails with a fresh cup of hot coffee first thing in the morning? Smiling, you open your emails, only to find a 15 page rant from your ex regarding 32 parenting issues spanning the last two years. Totally blindsided, this should go well!
On the other hand, what if you are the ex that sent the email? You don’t want to send an email for every single little issue, right? Then you’re a nag. But then the issues start to build upon one another and things that wouldn’t otherwise bother you suddenly start to drive you crazy and you find yourself on draft 13 of the email that you are finally going to send over because you have had enough!
But what if you don’t want to do that. Today we’re focusing on how to keep the crazy out of co-parenting communications. Here are our top tips:
1. Don’t wait
Nobody wants to be a nag, but you have to address issues while they are still relevant. If you wait and allow something to continue to bother you, you run the risk that the issue has passed without voicing how you really felt about the issue or worse, that your frustration will fester into something more.
2. Just the facts ma’am
Don’t take cheap shots. Co-parenting is hard enough without the ongoing sour grapes. Do you need to know if your co-parent is going to be able to pick up Susie from dance class? You could say, “I know you don’t like to do anything that looks like helping me ever, but I have to work late to make up for the fact that the child support you pay is so low, so can you pick Susie up from dance class on Thursday?” Chances are, your co-parent is either going to make things harder for you or shut down. If you are the co-parent on the receiving end of such a message, take the wind out of the sender’s sails and simply answer the question buried beneath all those grapes, “I can pick Susie up.” The end.
3. Don’t make a mountain out of a no-hill
Before you send that next angry text, email, skype, whatever, ask yourself is it worth it? Did your co-parent agree to a friend sleepover that is during YOUR parenting time!? Unless it is a reoccurring scenario, take a step back before throwing it into overdrive. Do you have plans during the friend sleepover? Okay you do? Sorry Susie, we’ve already got plans. No you don’t have plans during the sleepover? Sleepovers are actually kind of awesome and so are parents that allow sleepovers. Just sayin’.
4. Bring in a professional
So while you let some things go and try to communicate without a side of those so-sour grapes, in a timely manner, maybe your scenario just continues to remain too contentious to keep the crazy out. What do you do then? Communicate using a structure that doesn’t leave room for the crazy. Check out Our Family Wizard and Family Parent, two fantastic and easy to use co-parenting software applications designed to keep communications focused on solutions.
Remember that the only behavior you can control is your own. So while we can’t promise that these tips will stop crazy from coming at you, we do know it takes two to tango. Don’t give in to the crazy, let the crazy stop with you.
Visit us every Tuesday for more Divorce Tips Tuesdays and learn about a different way to divorce at accessfamilylaw.com.