Does it seem like no matter what you say your co-parent is trying to pick a fight with you?
Sometimes it can take months or years of healing to transition from the marital relationship into an amicable co-parenting relationship. But, even then there could still be old patterns that pop up from time to time.
So, how do you navigate those challenging conversations? Healthy boundaries are key! We recommend establishing firm co-parenting boundaries as soon as you can to create peace within your home. For other occasions where boundaries aren’t an issue, then you may want to ask yourself the following questions before going to war with your co-parent.
5 Questions To Assess The Problem With Before Contacting Your Co-Parent:
1. Does it impact the well-being of the children?
If the issue impacts your children’s well-being by not addressing it, then it’s an absolute necessity to address your concern. Your children’s well-being is of the utmost importance in the co-parenting relationship.
However, before addressing this issue think about how your co-parent may respond or how it will affect your children. For example, if you have addressed issues in the past with your co-parent and they became emotionally abusive to your children by punishing them indirectly for bringing up your concern, then pause and reflect on how to best address it. This is a clear indicator your co-parent is emotionally toxic and you may want to weigh your options a little more heavily before proceeding.
Your children’s emotional, psychological, and physical well-being is all that matters.
2. Based on the past interactions, what is the likely outcome? How did it empower you? How much time? What did it cost you, mentally or financially?
If you think back to a time when you addressed a similar concern with your co-parent, how did they respond? Were they combative? Did they create a bigger problem? How long did it take to recover? Did they withhold child support as punishment? Knowing your co-parent’s patterns of behavior and emotional triggers like the back of your hand will be in your best interest before taking action to resolve a problem. An individual’s behavior tells us everything in how to get them to work better together for your children.
If you are co-parenting with a narcissist or borderline personality, please seek professional assistance here. We understand these personality types are beyond unbearable at times to co-parent with, therefore seeking a neutral party can be in your best interest to save time, mental headaches, and additional stress.
3. Can your concerns be addressed constructively and calmly?
Do you think the issue can be resolved efficiently, effectively, and peacefully? When resolving matters it is best to keep emotions at bay. Using a calm tone of voice, concise thoughts (facts only), and constructive messaging towards a resolution will be in your best interest in finding mutual ground. If your co-parent is oppositional, then giving them two options to choose from can help guide towards a resolution. This helps them feel like they are in control yet you are presenting two options that are ideal for you and your children.
4.How can you compromise or resolve together?
Do you think you have a clear understanding your co-parent’s perspective? If you have the ability to rationalize their perspective and understand where they are coming from you have a better chance of finding a compromise. This doesn’t mean you have to agree but can find a way to incorporate it into the final outcome.
It’s often during power struggles someone wants to win, but in these types of situations, it typically ends with the kids losing because their parents are fighting. When you have the ability to shut down the discord, see outside of your perspective, and are willing to understand how your co-parent thinks you have a better chance of reaching an amicable agreement. And, that’s when the whole family is winning!
5.Is the parenting agreement or a previously established boundary being violated?
If your co-parent violates your parenting agreement or disregards co-parenting boundaries, this gives you a factorial leveraging point to address the problem. While your co-parent may have their opinions or twists and turns of how the problem came about, you can only resolve it with concrete evidence.
Struggling to have peace within your co-parenting relationship? Please reach out and set up a complimentary consultation. You deserve your new life free from co-parenting stressors and your children need stability and happiness to thrive.