You may not want to stay involved with your ex after your separation, but if you’ve got children together, your kids may be suffering from your lack of communication.
Some post-divorce parents feel they need to have contact with the other parent only in times of conflict. While there should be a heightened level of communication during times of conflict with your children, you should be working as co-parents on a regular basis.
Here are some of the reasons conflict-only co-parenting can be dangerous:
Emotions Run High
If conflict situations are the only time you communicate, they may make your relationship as co-parents worse than it already is. In high conflict situations, both parents’ emotions often run high and neither may be thinking rationally. You may be impulsive and emotional, causing actions that could come back to bite you.
Information is Missing
If one parent is consistently kept out of the loop, then when a conflict occurs, that parent has to be brought up to speed. For example, if you contact your ex to let them know your child is failing one of their classes, they may wonder how it got to that point, what the child is behind on, and most importantly, they may ask why they weren’t informed earlier.
Instead, contact the parent when the first assignments are missed, encourage them to help with homework and to be a part in discussing it with your child.
Parenting Becomes a Competition
Treat others as you want to be treated. Co-parenting is no exception to the golden rule. If you begin holding back information or waiting until problems explode before confronting your ex, they may feel the need to do the same. Ask yourself, how would you feel if you were kept out of the loop, only to be brought in at the moment a substantial decision needs to be made?
Keeping issues from your ex can turn your co-parenting relationship into a hiding competition.
Solve Problems While They are Small
Keeping issues from your ex isn’t just hurtful to your ex, it’s a negative cycle for your child and both parents to get into, and can be detrimental to your child. Only communicating with one another when there is a large conflict is like not caring for a papercut and waiting until the entire hand needs amputated. It simply doesn’t make sense. Talk to your ex while issues are small and together you can work toward the best way to “bandage” the situation.
Your child needs to feel you are a unified team. Co-parenting isn’t a competition, it’s an opportunity for the two of you to make your child the best person they can be, even if you’re not in the same household anymore. At Burton Law, we work to help families through some of the most difficult situations they face. Contact us for a consultation to see if we can help you, too.
MANAGING ATTORNEY AT BURTON LAW FIRM, P.C.
He chose to practice in the family law arena because of the positive and direct impact for good he saw in the lives of his clients.
Having twice been named one of Utah’s Legal Elite by Utah Business Magazine, Ken has a solid reputation as an effective advocate for his clients. He is actively involved in local and state bar associations, serves on various boards of directors and with volunteer organizations, and as a mentor for newly admitted attorneys.
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