Welcome to my new Dear Anna Case Studies!

I thought it would be a great idea to share some of the ways clients benefit from the work we do together.  In this new section you will find case studies from different subjects and situations that may resonate with you and hopefully will offer some solutions and encouragement.

Case Study #1 Background Info
In this instance, the mom has just received an email from her ex and is upset because she feels he is giving her directives and telling her what to do. Dad has just bought his 18 yrs old son a car. The son is now living with Dad in a different town to attend school. Previously, Mom had 100% custody (parenting time).

Dear Anna,

I received an email from my ex and have to answer him.  Is this email ok to send off to him? I need your help to edit this please can I call you tomorrow to discuss it?

Initial Email to Ex
I was going to ask you about this. I wasn’t sure how much highway driving Brian was doing. We are going to cottage not Gaspesie. My sister’s home is under renos. Can’t stay there so it is much longer to the collage to go via Chandler. It’s an extra 2.5 hours which is why I asked Brian if he were comfortable driving up. I was going to ask you and my sister about this. I am interested in knowing for now and the future in terms of Brian going up to the Gaspe to spend time with them on weekends etc. There is a train and bus there and it really makes good sense in terms of traffic.
Regarding the road being dangerous – do you mean the road to Gaspe or past Gaspe?
Dangerous in terms of traffic? Snow?

Revised Email to Ex
Subject: Gaspe

Thanks for sharing. It is important to me that if you are not comfy with his driving, nor am I.
Are you ok if I come by this time and pick him up and drop off the things Brian asked me to bring?
It’s not that much, 2 boxes of clothes and accessories?
For the return trip, I will put him on the bus or train. (It is at least an extra 2.5 hours home via Chandler and it’s Labor Day traffic).
Please let me know. Thanks

My client understood that she needed to be brief, concise, well-organized and mainly talk about the present and respond to the email only. Together, we crafted a succinct email and received a positive response within 5 minutes. In this instance, my client not only learned how to structure her emails better, she also learned what she was doing that had been confusing and frustrating her ex, empowering her to shift the situation in a collaborative direction.

What can we learn from this?

  • Shift your focus away from what the other parent may or may not have intended and focus on the bare facts
  • Keep the focus of your message on the present situation.
  • Share only what needs to be shared.
  • Be respectful of the other parent’s concerns.

Practice will make perfect. It will improve communication, which will improve collaboration. And that’s always in the best interests of your child.