How to co-parent?

myfampgJune 27, 2011

So how do you 'co-parent' without sounding judgmental, accusatory, misinformed, flat out dumb?

How would you prefer to be parented with? How would you want to receive questions regarding an issue so that you don't feel accussed or have to feel defensive on gaurd?

I would prefer a phone call of 'hey kid told me this happened. What's the deal?'

I don't receive calls so I get emails. I would prefer the same type of wording, hey what's going on?

When I send emails I've been 'accussed' of being wordy and lengthy with way too much info.

So I cut it short and trust me, this takes much effort. I'm still learning.

I might say 'Dd says that _________ happened. I think it's important for us to not do this or to do that at this time. The reason I feel this is importan is _______. I would like to discuss further. Thanks'

The response I receive is always defensive and 'before you go accusing you should get your facts straight'

I agree. I feel that is what I am doing. Asking for the other side of the story.

I feel I know my daughter well enough to know she is not making things up when she tells me. I rarely have found out after the fact that she was wrong or misunderstood. I usually never get a clear answer. I have suggested that with the latest events we sit down with her and really find out what is going on but of course, that is a no. If she knows we do not communicate then she will eventually learn to use that to her advantage so I always play the, 'I'll talk to dad about that later when I talk to him'.

My DH agrees that it's not Dd telling us about things as much as her panic reactions to events that make me realize something is going on with her. Her clingy behavior when she comes home. The crying. Etc.

I'm just wanting to know ways to better communicate concerns without sounding like I'm starting off accusing. Although that's really what I WANT to do.

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sweeby

The only thing I would change is the bit about explaining why it's important not to do X-Y-Z up front (before you hear their side), because that suggests you accept DD's version of events completely and that the other parent actually did what DD says they did. As any parent knows, kids are very adept at 'spinning' a story to make themselves look innocent and the other folks look bad, and that's probably what they're objecting to.

Even if you're sure DD is being honest, she is being 'honest as she sees it' -- which is different. She's interpreting things first, before relaying the facts to you; then you're interpreting them again before reacting.

I'd suggest the following adaptation:

1 - DD said this happened ___
2 - I asked her what happened before the problem and she said X-Y-Z.
3 - I wanted to hear your side of the story before reaching any conclusions.
4 - Can you please let me know your perspective as soon as possible, so I can discuss the event with DD and how she might have handled it more productively?

This last bit implies they are not to blame, or at least that DD provoked or exacerbated the problem -- which is often true to some extent.

Of course, your discussion with DD is entirely up to you, and her 'handle it more productively' may simply be recognizing that her SM is a loon and not giving her the satisfaction of an emotional blowout...

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 10:13AM
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myfampg

Lol sweeby thanks! Lol

I will try that. I think I might apologize for sounding like I was accusing and go from there.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 12:37PM
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parent_of_one

sweeby has great advice. there were times when i accused ex without knowing details or was too aggressive (for example learning that he allowed to ride in the front seat for example)...it is better to cool off and then talk. we addressed everything either on the phone or face to face, emails could be tricky, it it hard to know what the person really says.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 5:29PM
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lovehadley

" emails could be tricky, it it hard to know what the person really says"

This is a good point.

However, it also depends on whether you want documentation as to what was said. I wholly agree with parent that, with emails, it can be hard to gauge a person's tone, etc, but if you need to keep EVERYTHING documented----due to the hositility and wackiness on SM's end---then you might be best keeping communication to email.

Or perhaps you could talk on the phone and follow up with a summary via email.

"Thanks for spending five minutes discussing _____ with me today. I feel like we have gotten a handle on the situation and I'm glad were in agreement that we will do ______ next time instead of ______."

That way you could keep the actual conversation on the phone, the way you prefer, but then have a documented, abrieveated version in email for your records.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 6:29PM
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parent_of_one

good point, love, I haven't thought about documenting...

to be honest I am glad I don't have to do co=parenting anymore. even though i didn't have major problems i wouldn't want to repeat commotion of dealing with ex...

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 6:43PM
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