Dealing With Conflict, Everyday Challenges, Need some help, Tips & Lists

Dealing with Disagreements in your coParenting Relationship

Work hard to find a constructive space with your coParent and resolve disagreements away from your kids, nothing good comes from high-conflict coParenting. (2 min 21 sec read)

Dave Chartier
A single co-parenting dad, a freelance writer and former syndicated dad blogger with work published in USA Today, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

No matter if you are married, separated or divorced, conflicts are bound to arise. Even the most even-tempered separating or divorced couples go through periods of escalated tension. High-conflict couples may even find new levels of anxiety post-divorce. Regardless, you must work hard to find a constructive space with your coParent and resolve disagreements away from your kids. Recent conclusive studies have shown that when it comes to children, nothing good comes from high-conflict coParenting.

So what can you do?

Here are some techniques that can help you break the cycle of conflict, stay focused on the issue at hand, and keep your child’s best interest in mind:

  1. Request a conversation with your coParent. Instead of blindsiding them with an issue, request a time you both could talk. Giving them the heads up, it gives you a moment or two to collect your thoughts and allows you to think through the issue without other external stressors coming into the mix. Perhaps your response is a simple text back to your coParent saying something like, “Yes, we need to talk through this but I cannot get into it at the moment. When is a good time for you and I to talk about {the issue}?
  2. Stay on point. If the conversation is about your daughter’s summer schedule, keep the conversation on point, resolve it and move on or close out the discussion. Try putting on a more business-like manner and keep emotions checked at the door.
  3. Shut down aggressiveness. Aggression comes in many forms passive, even thinly veiled sarcasm, or active & blatant aggression. If your coParent is unable to keep their anger in check, you always have the right to close down the discussion if it has failed to be productive, which leads to the next step.
  4. Stick a pin in it.  This might seem counterintuitive, but naming your experience can help you gain objectivity and increase empathy in your co-parent. It may reveal a new and different approach to problem-solving for your coParent to respond too. It can be as simple and straightforward as this: “I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed and reactive right now. This is a really hard topic for me. We need to continue this conversation at a different time.”  
  5. Timeout!  If a conversation feels too escalated, call a timeout. Tell your co-parent in an even tone (e.g. no dramatics) that you need a break, but confirm that within the next 24 hours that you’ll return to the conversation.
  6. Get help from a third-party. If you are struggling to make progress, it’s wise to involve an objective third party professional such as a family psychologist or mediator. If you’ve been using the coParenter app, you know you have access to a live professional to help you work through the issue in real-time from anywhere you have cellphone data access.