All relationships are an attempt to understand another person. When that person speaks another language, the challenge increases.
A key step towards co-parenting in harmony is adopting a new language with your co-parent for effective communication that is parenting-only.
Learning this new language starts by recognizing that co-parenting is child-focused and aimed at them having both parents securely in their lives as heroes and role models. Your new language will stay centred on the children in order to express what really needs to be conveyed, and avoiding what doesn’t.
Think back. As intimate partners, the love language was automatically understood in your voice and behaviour. As divorced parents, that language is perceived as hurtful, resentful, revengeful and mainly received with resistance.
This is why co-parents must adopt a new language and vocabulary that gives all parties the ability to refocus their lens on their new co-parenting lifestyle. This is how you master the art of co-parenting in harmony to redefine your today, your tomorrows and those of your children.
As you move forward, remember that being kind to your child’s other parent is much easier than always being angry and miserable. Starting with a clean slate and building new language habits will go a long way towards ending the adversarial win-or-lose approach and creating a healthy environment for your children.
In my own co-parenting arrangement, we always put our child’s best interests at the front, no matter how angry we were or how frustrating the situation was. This strategy was instrumental in bringing us to where we are today, which is enjoying our grandkids together!
As a Co-parenting Coach, I feel it’s essential to adopt a new language in order to strengthen your co-parenting relationship and keep your children’s best interests front of mind. Over the course of my career and my own co-parenting journey, I have discovered 10 mind blowing steps towards building this highly effective and harmonious parent-only language.
What’s so mind blowing about them? Their simplicity and their impact.
Follow these 10 mind blowing steps and soon begin to see positive shifts in your co-parenting dynamic for a better tomorrow.
- Drop the term “my ex” in favour of “my child’s mom/dad” or “my child’s mother/father”. This simple change allows you some emotional detachment from your previous spouse-partner relationship, and empowers you to move into a more effective and less emotional parent-partner mindset.
- Avoid phrases like “You should”, “You always” and “You never”. These put you in a blaming or angry mode. Instead, use “I” phrases. This leads to healthy dialogue, mutual respect and a dynamic wherein you communicate with your child’s other parent, not your former spouse. This helps you both keep the focus on your child.
- When talking to friends, teachers or colleagues within earshot of your child, say “my child’s father/mom” or “the mother/father of my child”. This helps put things in a new perspective for you and your child. Remember, this is still your child’s parent, but no longer your spouse partner.
- When speaking to your co-parent, always say “our daughter/son”. This focuses the responsibility on the parents’ dual roles and not only on one parent.
- When speaking to your child about extracurricular activities or time spent with their other parent, say “at mom’s/dad’s home”. This models respect towards your child’s parent and your child will model the same respect.
- A “thank you” or “yes, of course” generates goodwill. A simple act of generosity can turn a difficult situation into a reminder that you’re actually on the same team when it comes to your child’s well-being.
- If there’s a change in schedule, feel free to answer “sure, happy to do that”, “no, sorry that doesn’t work for me” or “will it work for you to swap the day or weekend?” This promotes flexibility and compromise in that both co-parents give a little. It is also reminder that you are both doing this for your child’s best interest.
- When receiving a text message or email, kindly respond with “got it” or “will get back to you” and be specific about when you will get back to them. This is a simple act of kindness that goes a long way and will create a positive ripple effect. It also prevents being an avoider, which will create resistance.
- If there is a specific problem with your child at school or with friends, family, avoid placing blame onto the other parent. Instead, ask “what do you think about the situation?” Brainstorm solutions together, respectfully.
- When speaking to your child about something that requires joint decision, say “Your mom/dad and I”. This helps your child know that there are many areas of their life that you and your co-parent continue to share. You may no longer share each other’s lives, but you do share your child, and it benefits your child to be regularly reminded that they still have two active parents involved in their life, and it demonstrates care and love for your child.
Choosing to adopt a new language helps pave the way to healthy and positive conversations that will create a ripple effect for the entire family, and help you establish a pleasant environment of co-parenting in harmony.
Anna seeks to inspire and elevate co-parents to live a harmonious co-parenting lifestyle. She shows co-parents how a positive mindset and simple acts of kindness can transform the future of the entire family.
Anna is an online Co-Parenting coach and a first-person advocate for Co-Parenting in Harmony. She is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner in Co-Parenting and a 2x international bestselling author of Co-Parenting in Harmony©: Creating A Ripple Effectand co-author of Co-Parenting in Harmony©: The Art of Putting Your Child’s Soul First. To learn more about Anna’s work, check out her e-book on how to co-parent in harmony with your ex-spouse: https://www.annagiannone.com/e-book/