Completely avoiding your ex might be a wise decision if you don’t have any kids with them. However, co parenting with no communication isn’t always a good thing for your child.
Whether co-parenting with an ex or someone you were never married to, ongoing communication ― no matter how minimal ― is essential for jointly coordinating your child’s affairs. This is especially true if you and your co-parent are willing to be part of your child’s life.
According to a 2017 study, poor communication is the main cause of marital and cohabitation breakdown.
Understandably, you may strongly dislike your ex, especially if you were in a toxic relationship. However, your love for your child should be greater and stronger than any hate you feel for the other parent.
This article will help you make the best of co-parenting, as I’ll share practical tips for improving communication between co-parents.
Who knows, you might even consider rebuilding your marriage in the process (if that’s what you want).
Major Components of a Healthy Co Parenting Relationship
Co parenting with no communication and no parenting plan defeats the primary purpose of co parenting to begin with.
The concept of co-parenting essentially means two separated or divorced parents agreeing to care, socialize, and bring up their children together, even though they live apart. This parenting plan cannot work without healthy communication.
You’ll get the best from the situation if you and the other parent stick to the main characteristics of healthy co-parenting.
Here’s a quick rundown of a few key co-parenting components:
- Maintaining consistent rules in both households: Giving children a sense of common direction or predictability is one of the major differences between co-parenting and parallel parenting. Kids need a unified front, even though their parents live in separate homes. Co-parenting provides established rules and disciplinary measures in both households to promote consistency.
- Open co parenting communication: All issues relating to the child, including rules and schedules, are discussed and agreed on by both parents rather than channeling communication through children.
- No demeaning remarks about the other parent: Disrespecting or speaking poorly about your co-parent is a no-no, particularly in the child’s presence. Healthy shared parenting means not allowing personal differences or gripes about either co-parent to shape the child’s views. Similarly, you should never allow a third party to badmouth your co-parent in front of your child.
- Agreeable interactions in public: Both parents must put aside their differences and behave civilly whenever they are present at the same time at school, extra-curricular events, or other public functions. A less than amicable interaction in public, especially in front of your kids, will embarrass them. It is your duty to demonstrate how to be a responsible adult, both in public and private.
Downsides of Co Parenting With No Communication
Parenting is not the easiest of tasks, even when both parents are happily married. The difficulty level goes several notches higher in co-parenting situations.
This is why open communication is crucial to the upbringing of children in this type of parenting arrangement.
The following disadvantages may play out if you close the doors of communication between you and your co-parent:
Your Kids Won’t Have a Unified Front
In a healthy co-parenting situation, parents present a united front as they work hand in hand to create schedules, lay down rules, and raise well-rounded children.
It is even more crucial to present a united front during adolescent and teenage years because kids are likely to test limits and push boundaries as they become more independent.
Achieving this will be extremely difficult if parents attempt to co-parent without open dialogue.
It Is Harder to Maintain Consistency Between Households
Co-parents who hardly communicate are less likely to be on the same page. While you might prefer not to talk with the other parent, the situation makes it difficult for your kids to cope with the dynamics between the different households.
Children may be confused or prefer one parent over the other if co-parents have different standards regarding house rules and appropriate disciplinary measures.
You Might Use Your Kids as Go-Betweens
Not talking with the other parent in a co-parenting situation isn’t always an easy decision to stick to. Before long, you might find yourself using your kids as communication channels for schedules and rules.
As you already know, using kids as communication channels can easily turn into using them as mediators in your relationship, and that’s not healthy for your children.
You Demonstrate Wrong Conflict Resolution Behavior
A famous quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson reads, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”
That’s another way of saying children learn more from their parents’ actions than words. And this is why parents need to demonstrate good behavior rather than merely instruct kids.
You lose the opportunity to model civility and conflict resolution if you are co parenting with no communication.
Not talking with your ex deprive your kids of the chance to experience tolerance and support despite differences.
Benefits of Co Parenting With No Communication
The above downsides notwithstanding, minimal interaction between exes is advised in high-conflict separations or parallel parenting. The less contact you have with an unrepentant abusive ex, the fewer conflicts you’ll likely have.
In addition to reducing the risk of being provoked or provoking the other parent, keeping your distance and not talking with your co-parent allows you to focus more on raising your children.
And because you aren’t on talking terms both in person and by phone, you are more emotionally detached from the other parent.
Emotional attachment doesn’t necessarily mean you miss your ex. It could also mean you are attached to their negative energy, making it difficult to heal.
Cutting off all verbal communication with the other parents gives you time to self-reflect, heal properly, and move on instead of dwelling on what they said and how they said it.
That said, not talking with your co-parent doesn’t zero communication. You must communicate schedules, rules, and everything related to your child’s welfare and upbringing in writing, ensuring they are all well-documented.
Quick Tips on Maintaining a Better Co Parenting Relationship
Excelling at co parenting is no easy feat, but it is doable, regardless of your communication style and whether you are non-dating parents, separated, or divorced.
Here are some tips for effectively navigating the somewhat complex and taxing world of co-parenting.
Prioritize Your Child’s Needs Over Personal Differences
It is understandable if you can’t stand your co-parent. However, your primary focus is to love your child and give them the best upbringing, regardless of how you feel about the other parent.
Identify and support your child’s developmental needs instead of focusing your energy on why your relationship ended.
If there’s a disagreement over an issue, always put your child’s needs above personal differences and avoid fault finding. With the proper mindset, you’ll both figure out a solution that best suits your child.
Your life may be easier if you don’t have to deal with an ex, but it is in the best interest of your children to make yourself accessible to the other parent.
Make sure to answer calls promptly and respond to texts or emails about the children in a timely fashion.
Respectfully and kindly communicating with your co-parents sets a good example for your children, who will likely follow in your footsteps.
Decide Which Communication Channels Work Best for You
You and the other parent should agree on the communication tools that suit your preferences. The options include:
- Face to face: Talking in person reduces the chances of misunderstanding and allows issues to be resolved properly.
- Phone calls: Talking over the phone is a better option if you’ll rather not meet the other parent in person. It allows issues to be handled while reducing the chances of face-to-face conflicts, especially when one or both exes still harbor negative feelings.
- Email: This is a great option for long-form communications. It is also good for maintaining a record of all interactions.
- Texting: Text messages work well for quick communication.
- Apps: This is perhaps the best option for documenting all interactions and is particularly handy if you ever need to go to court.
Avoid being emotional when texting or emailing the other parent (no emojis or exclamation marks). Be polite and keep things formal, even if you are frustrated at something they did.
If you choose to cut off verbal communication, make sure to have all correspondences in black and white.
And keep the communication solely focused on the kids.
- “Tomorrow’s sports practice will not hold because of the weather.”
- “There’s an emergency at the school. I’ll be picking up Stacy immediately to see Doctor Chris.”
Sticking to schedules creates predictability, and that’s great for both parents. However, be willing to make room for slight adjustments occasionally.
Give the other parent the benefit of the doubt when it comes to rescheduling, especially if they aren’t in the habit of canceling.
Be open to switching days if your co-parent really needs to reschedule. Only say “no” when it is necessary (not just because you want to be difficult).
Adopt a Business-Like Approach to Meetings
Approach all interactions as you would a business meeting. This approach is particularly helpful if the other parent is difficult to deal with.
It is important to keep your emotions in check and don’t allow your co-parent to get under your skin.
If possible, attend all meetings with a lawyer or a neutral third party.
Speak Positively About Your Co-Parent
Portraying the other parent in good light is important to your child’s well-being. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must agree with your co-parent on everything.
The most important thing is communicating your opinions maturely instead of getting into sharp disagreements and conflicts in front of your child.
And if you can’t find something good to say about your co-parent, by all means, avoid saying something negative, especially in the presence of your child. After all, they are still your child’s parent.
Key Co Parenting Communication Rules
While you should keep communication channels with your co-parent open, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding what’s acceptable and not is important.
Specific rules may vary depending on what both of you decide. However, consider the following basic rules:
- Except it is an emergency, only initiate contact with the other parent when you are emotionally calm.
- Communicate using straightforward language, making sure to avoid ambiguity.
- Be polite and avoid sarcasm, passive aggression, and name-calling. Take a break instead of lashing out when you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed during an interaction.
- Ensure that the communication is purely centered on current or upcoming child-related issues.
- Avoid the blame game, ensuring you both agree to solutions for all child-related problems and tackle them as a team.
- Consider documenting all interactions, including recording all communication threads. This is especially important if you’re dealing with a particularly difficult co-parent.
If there is a need to go to court (for example, over threats), the judge will easily see what led to the threat. A hassle-free way to keep track of all interactions is to use a co-parenting app.
Parenting doesn’t end just because parents are divorced or separated. And while it is possible to co-parent without talking with the other parent, that approach may not be in your child’s best interest.
Dealing with a toxic co-parent can be difficult, especially when the other parent seizes every chance to be a pain in the neck.
However, co parenting with no communication negatively affects your child’s well-being, so it is crucial to find a way around a difficult co-parent.
Consider communicating through a lawyer or therapist when dealing with a toxic co-parent. This is particularly the case if talking with the other parent poses a risk to your physical, emotional, or mental well-being.