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Speak to Me: The Cost of Poor Co-Parent Communication Part 2

Speak to Me: The Cost of Poor Co-Parent Communication Part 2

“I need to check in with you on the plan for the girls this summer for vehicles. They are both trying to line up summer jobs. Are you planning to get another car to meet the agreement that you provide vehicles for both girls?”
No response received.

October 9th 1:51 p.m. – “Can I have the attendance password you set up for Sophia with the school? I have to call Sophia out for a doc appt this afternoon”
Response received November 30 at 11:33 a.m.  “School pw: _______.”

These texts between me and my co-parent to which there was not a timely response are examples of times I was ignored.  By and large 80% of our communication is and, for the last 13 years of co-parenting, has been good. But on occasion, there is a lapse.

In communications with my co-parent, I am generally lucky. Unlike the experience of many of my clients, my co-parent has never been unkind, called me names, or made accusations when texting or emailing me. 

While I only experience poor communication in the form of no response approximately 20% of the time, it sends me into a complete tizzy. There is no greater weapon to use against me than to ignore me. When I feel ignored, it is like turning the crank on a jack-in-the-box and with each passing day I am wound taut until the inevitable explosion.

I have yet to understand how to combat, the disrespect inherent in being ignored. For any parents out there with teenagers you have, no doubt, experienced this unique form of helplessness when you cannot FORCE a response from your teen on when they are coming home/did they talk to their teacher like they said they would/did they arrive safe and sound/etc.

There is a real cost to being non-communicative. In addition to the financial cost there is a real toll it takes on the co-parenting relationship. Most parents will agree that parenting is the most important role they have. Yet so many divorced parents refuse to communicate in a timely, respectful, businesslike manner, if at all, with the one person who is tasked with co-parenting and equally loving their children.

The co-parenting relationship is a business relationship.  You would not run a business and never speak to your business partner about inventory, expenses, revenue, and management details. Treat co-parenting like running a successful business, if in fact, you want your children to grow up happy and healthy. You may not feel the effect of being a poor communicator, but your children will. 

Communication with your co-parent is a critical skill to learn for the sake of your children.  Imagine that your child is seeing your texts with your co-parent and this is what you are modeling and teaching them about communication. This should be the litmus test.  And even if your kids aren’t seeing the messages, I can nearly guarantee if communication is an issue, the judge will.

Angela Dunne

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