Poor communication skills are the main reason that many disputes erupt between parents who are involved in custody issues. If you do not tell your ex what is going on concerning your child, your ex will learn to distrust you and resent you. Keeping the lines of communication open with your ex will allow you to avoid unnecessary conflict.
For example, say that your child has missed school for the past week. Let us also say the reason for the child missing school is that he or she came down with 104-degree fever. Your child’s school has yet to update their records and all that is shown is that the child has seven days of unexcused absences. You fail to tell your ex what is going on with your child because it has no direct effect on their period of visitation.
Your ex calls the school and finds that the child has missed seven days of school. Your ex is furious, believing that the reason behind the child missing school is that you are neglecting the needs of the child. Your ex hires an attorney and you are directed to appear in court on allegations of child neglect.
Here is another example: Say that your child is 10 years old and wants to try out for the basketball team. You see that the basketball schedule and practices will fall on your ex’s scheduled days of visitation. Without explanation, you enroll the child in basketball and never tell your ex about the new schedule. Your ten-year-old is then forced to explain to your ex that there will be scheduled games and practices. Your ex is not provided a schedule and is forced to go to the school.
Your ex goes to a lawyer’s office and is told that you are attempting to alienate your child’s affections toward him. Your ex and his family are outraged that you deliberately are taking steps to minimize his time with the child. Your ex finds a psychologist who agrees with their position because it fits the definition of parental alienation. A lawsuit is filed, and you find yourself in a custody dispute in which the child’s basketball games are used as evidence against you.
Do you think these scenarios are improbable? Think again. One text, one email would have stopped the domino effect of events that led to the lawsuit regarding the missed absences at school. As to the basketball scenario, the problem could have been easily resolved by having your child talk to his father about trying out for the team. It might surprise you that if your ex hears what the child truly wants, he might be willing to be involved and promote the child’s wishes. If you have an estranged relationship with your ex, you likely will agree that any idea that comes from you will likely meet bitter resistance.
Sharing information can only build communication and trust. People who trust one another are willing to listen and understand what the other has to say. If you do not know how to communicate with a difficult ex, find a counselor who can help you to learn how. Communication will go a long way to make your children and you much happier.
Matt Sossi #cooperativeparenting #kidsfirstparentssecond