It is common for parents to experience difficulties communicating with the other parent about their children, post-separation. Inflamed emotions, shock, denial and grief over the separation may be interfering with your ability to make day-to-day parenting plans involving scheduling, children’s health issues or behavioural concerns.
Here are a couple of strategies that may reduce the tension and allow you to have more peaceful and productive conversations with your ex:
1. Respond to hostile emails or texts using the “B.I.F.F.” method, recommended by Dr. Bill Eddy, founder of New Ways for Families and the High Conflict Institute.
“B.I.F.F.” stands for:
Brief – make sure your messages are brief, clear and to- the- point. Use brevity to signal that you don’t wish to get into a prolonged back-and-forth argument;
Informative – include all the necessary information about the co-parenting issue, while avoiding negativity and criticism;
Friendly – use a writing tone that treats the other parent the way you would like to be treated. This increases the chances of getting a friendly – or neutral – response;
Firm – while following the guideline of being friendly and doing what you can to promote a good working relationship with the other parent, you will also need to clearly state your position on an issue. Avoid inviting more discussion or asking for more information unless you are negotiating or need the dialogue to continue.
For more information about BIFF communications and to read Bill’s article, go to our website which is found here.
2. Enroll in the Our Family Wizard web service. This is a communication platform designed to assist parents post-separation. It has many helpful features including a mobile app and special features such as ‘ToneMeter’, which is described as an ‘emotional spell-check’ for your messages. The sign-up fees are reasonable, and may well be worth the investment in more peaceful co-parenting. For more information, visit www.ourfamilywizard.com