Parents with Patience
Part 2: A Co-Parenting Conversation Series
“Are you going to respond?” “Please respond.” “I am not going to bring Billy’s baseball shoes that he needs until you answer my question about the summer parenting dates in 5 months.” “I need a response.” “Are you too busy to be a good parent?” “I am calling my lawyer.”
More often than you would think, our lawyers and paralegals are reading text messages, emails, and phone transcripts accounts of between non-cooperating co-parents that ring very similar to this example. I would say parenting conflict in communication often snowballs, but it would have to be a snowball that started on the edge of a 90 degree angle and moved at warp speed to accurately describe what we see on a regular basis.
In Part 1 of this series, I described a moment when my co-parent and I reached the point in a dispute where our texting was no longer serving us and certainly wasn’t solving anything. We had reached an impasse. The shortness in our text responses was clearly indicating our respective frustrations. I asked that we meet in person to discuss the issues.
One of the best things we did unknowingly in the moment was allow ourselves space.
We scheduled our meeting a couple weeks out over a coffee before work. To be honest, it was mostly a function of our calendars. I know I wasn’t being intentionally smart about it – in fact – if anything the delay seemed to build a perfect procrastination buffer.
What I observed in hindsight was the sheer support the passing of time provided. By the time we sat down for our meeting, I had had 2+ weeks to fully process my emotions, to chat with my trusted friends about both sides of the issues, and to build up impartiality to the outcome.
This “breather” allowed us the space to cool off, reset, and come together with renewed perspective on what the issues really were. In this I saw clearly the value of true patience. The pause of our frenetic texting pace was a complete game changer in the remainder of our conversation and led to a resolution of a difficult issue within an hour.
Your co-parenting relationship will thank you.