In my last blog, I talked about using emails, etc., to communicate with your ex about parenting scheduling and conflicts. The idea, which came from a November 25, 2012 article in the New York Times (Kramer.com v Kramer.com), was designed to avoid disagreement, (to put it mildly), in front of the children.This may work in the worst of circumstances, where the parties truly are incapable of any civilized communication.
But let’s think about the messages it sends to the children. On the positive side, one message could be-“Kids despite the fact your Dad (or Mom) and I can’t talk to each other without fighting, we both want to be sure that you have a life with us that is as free of confrontation as possible. So Mom (or Dad) and I will use the internet and the scheduling apps.to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. We don’t want you to see us fighting in front of you or messing up your time with either of us.”
On the negative side, it pushes aside your obligation to show maturity in dealing with another adult face to face. Enough said.
Now let’s assume instead that you and your ex do not hate each other as much as the people above but still have trouble keeping from being nasty to each other in front of the kids when changing exchanging the kids.
You’re smart enough to know that the fight they witness hurts them more than you and that they are learning from adult experts, you, how
grownups interact. Not good.
Instead, how about sitting down with a trained and experienced mediator to develop a script to use with each other when you are exchanging the children, a script that emphasizes and demonstrates how two grown people who can’t stand each other otherwise, can still be civil and set an example for the kids? Start by writing what you think two “civilized” people would say. You don’t have to mean it when you say it, but you will be surprised how just mouthing the words can become part of the reality.