Stay true to your word: An excerpt from A-Z guide to Cooperative Parenting… Matt Sossi J.D.

Stay true and constant to what you tell your ex, do not waffle.

To avoid conflict, one must establish effective communication skills with one’s ex.  You will lose any hope to effectively communicate if you misrepresent the facts of a given situation or if you continually waffle and withdraw promises that are made for the sake of the child.

Misrepresentation means saying something that’s not true normally to get your way in any given situation.  For example, let us say that you have a child who you want to keep for the weekend so they can be present for your parent’s anniversary. You tell your ex that your child cannot go with him this weekend because he is sick with 104 degree fever and requires bed rest. Let us also say that your best friend goes with you to the anniversary party.  After the weekend your friend calls your ex and comments about how much he enjoyed seeing your child at the anniversary party.

Obviously your ex finds out and is extremely upset and will doubt your word in the future.  When your child is actually sick he will not want to give you an out, and he will regret actually ever TRUSTING you and attempting to be reasonable in handling your child’s situation.  Just like the boy who cried wolf, your genuine pleas for concern will now go totally unheeded for good reason. 

The best way to handle this situation, tell you’re EX what’s going on in your situation.  Ask you’re EX if they can make up the weekend for the following week, and better yet, throw in some ex extra time and sweeten the deal.  Learn how to negotiate and communicate. 

The other bad habit people get into is WAFFLING, saying that they will think about doing something or agreeing to something and NEVER EVER coming back and committing to an answer.   Let us say that every time your ex picks up your child he asks if he can take your child to see an NBA basketball game on a day that does not follow his allocated time.  Your response is sure just let me get back with you after I think about it.  Let us say your ex keeps asking you again and again about going to the game because the time is running out to purchase the tickets.  You provide no response.  Your ex finally will give up communicating with you because you never commit to any sort of response. 

Misrepresenting facts and waffling will come back to haunt you. I promise. There will be a time in the future when you will want a favor from your ex.  Imagine to your horror receiving the same “I’ll think about it” from your ex who just couldn’t wait to dish out what you’ve been serving.  Give a waffle get a waffle back, it’s that simple. 

Misrepresenting facts, waffling and genuinely being an obstructionist will always lead to one thing, conflict.  Once there is a continued pattern of such bad conduct you can forget ever having a hope of communicating with your ex.      

Not so long ago people stood behind their words with a handshake.  The handshake created the basis behind an agreement that could not be withdrawn or restated.  People accepted one another’s words and gave meaning to what was said.  No waffling, no misrepresenting.   If it takes shaking your ex’s hand to confirm what’s going on, by all means shake away.


Matt Sossi 


One thought on “Stay true to your word: An excerpt from A-Z guide to Cooperative Parenting… Matt Sossi J.D.

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