If you are a divorced or separated parent in Virginia, you may wonder how to communicate effectively with your co-parent. Communication is essential for successful co-parenting, as it helps you avoid conflicts, coordinate schedules, share information and support your children’s well-being.
However, communication can also be challenging, especially if you have unresolved issues or negative feelings toward your co-parent.
Even if you disagree with your co-parent or have a history of hurt or anger, you should treat them with respect and courtesy. Avoid name-calling, insults, sarcasm or blaming. Use polite and neutral language, and focus on the issues that affect your children, not your personal grievances.
If you have agreed to a parenting plan or a custody schedule, stick to it and honor your commitments. If you need to make changes or request flexibility, do so in advance and with a valid reason. Do not make your co-parent or your children wait or wonder if you will show up or follow through.
Co-parenting requires teamwork and compromise. You and your co-parent may have different parenting styles, opinions or preferences, but you should try to find common ground and work together for your children’s best interests.
Do not undermine, criticize or interfere with your co-parent’s decisions or authority. Instead, support and reinforce each other’s roles and responsibilities.
Choose a method of communication that works best for you and your co-parent, and use it consistently. Some parents prefer email or text messages, as they are private and allow time to think before responding. Others prefer phone calls or face-to-face meetings, as they are more personal and convey tone and emotion better.
Whatever method you choose, make sure it is convenient and accessible for both of you, and that you check it regularly.
Communication is not only about solving problems or addressing issues. It is also about sharing positive news, praise, appreciation or encouragement. Try to balance your communication with your co-parent with some positive messages, such as complimenting them on their parenting skills, thanking them for their cooperation or celebrating your child’s achievements.