Communicating with your child's mother

Whether you separate on good terms or under a cloud of resentment, it is vital that you find ways of communicating with your child’s mother. Dad.info looks at why and how good communication will benefit in the long-term...

 

Why it is important to exchange information

Exchanging information with your child’s mother doesn’t just allow you to feel fully involved in your child’s life. Making sure that you both know what is happening in your child’s life means that they are less likely to develop patterns of risky behaviour.

 

The effective exchange of information with the child’s mother fulfils two important functions. It ensures that key pieces of information do not fall between the gaps between you and the other parent. It also provides your child with a sense of continuity and a feeling that they still have two parents who are fully engaged in their lives.

What information is important?

Important information is simply the information that you both need to maintain your child’s wellbeing. If there is information that you feel is important, it’s a good bet your child’s mum thinks it is too. The following list gives you the basics but you might want to build on it:

  • issues around health
  • reactions to the separation
  • unusual behaviour
  • school attendance and performance
  • information about other family members
  • things that are happening with friends

 

It is important that the exchange of information is as full as possible without overloading each other with irrelevant news and unrealistic demands. Good communication builds trust between separating parents. It will reassure you both that your child is safe in the other’s hands.

How do we communicate effectively?

As parents living together, information about the wellbeing of your children passes between you almost unnoticed. When you separate, it becomes crucial that you establish new ways of communicating that important information. This may require you to establish more formal mechanisms for doing so.

The best way to pass information between you is to continue to talk. Some parents are able to chat quite freely whereas others agree a time and place to deal with things in one session. If there is any chance at all that you may argue, discuss things away from your child.

If talking face-to-face is too difficult try using the telephone, email or even SMS text. If arguments are likely to erupt, agree an agenda in advance and stick to it. Never withhold information as a means of undermining your child’s mother as this only puts your child at risk. And never require your child to be the conduit for information.

Reaching agreement

Communication style

It is a fact that, when you speak to someone face-to-face, the thing that they focus on least is what you say. More important is your tone of voice and body language. Women very often find the way that men communicate hostile and as a consequence become defensive.

It is important that you are assertive in your communication but never aggressive. Assertiveness means being clear and unambiguous. Aggressiveness means being demanding and threatening. Things are usually quite tense after separation, so be extra vigilant about the way you are communicating.

 

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Comments

  • Guest
    Joe Monday, 11 July 2016

    Joe

    My experience is that my wife has haranagued my children so much that they don't want to see me. They are early teens so they apparently have a big part of choice in contact with me. Any SMS contact with my (nearly) ex-wife is counted as emotional pressure and bullying. Where do you go with that?

  • DAD.info Team 1
    DAD.info Team 1 Tuesday, 12 July 2016

    Hi Joe - I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time. Perhaps you could post your question on our forum page - we have a great community of Dads who may be able to offer advice based upon their previous experiences. The link is: https://www.dad.info/forum/index

    All the best

    DAD.Info Team

  • Guest
    greg smith Tuesday, 27 December 2016

    shes so difficult

    I have tried and tried for the last 6 years to let her have it her way. She moved across the country so seeing the kids at the weekends has never been an option. I try for holidays but its always working around her and when I'm allowed. still she 'punishes' me when shes the one who left. I'm lucky if I get a 30 minute chat with my kids every 3 weeks because her phone is broke, or shes out, or she didn't have her phone with her. This year for the first time ever I couldn't even get through on Christmas day or boxing day, I might be allowed to talk to them later. I am devastated that still after so long she uses them to hurt me, I did nothing wrong. I seriously consider courts but am so worried of stories she will invent to tell the children. I know that she will bad mouth me or tell stories and I am not there to set the record straight.. they love being with me, they tell me all the time but I am so limited as to when I can see them, she doesn't drive either so its me who does the 12 hour road trip which I need to fit in around work etc and which I need advance warning for work. I am at a loss, I just don't know what to do anymore. she took my kids phone away so I cant text or call. why after 6 years do people still want to hurt you, I just don't understand some people. I just want regular uninterrupted contact, to be able to speak with my kids, to see them and watch them grow, to be able to tell them how very much I love them. To speak to them at Christmas. I just want whats fair

  • Guest
    Jam Tuesday, 17 January 2017

    wow

    sorry to hear your story 6 years is along time, I would advice you to go trough the courts, if there is no safeguarding issues the court usually would give you at least weekend access. about the storied she might say it all fall to your works against hers so don't worry to much most court want dads to be involved in the children life.
    Fill in a C100 form will cost you about £250

    Good luck

  • Guest
    Sinead Tuesday, 09 May 2017

    Sinead

    I wanna see my kids. I went throgh the courts.. and nothing was set in place. I could have them when I want.. but he started to continue when I talk to them.. went to see them one day but I was not aloud to see um the next day as it was to uosetting for them.. I wanna have contact but I don't want to go through him hrs to controlling what can I do

  • Guest
    Dalton Cargile Friday, 22 September 2017

    Need help and advice please

    My child's mother and I broke up about 4 months ago it was far from a good breakup and I still hurt over it and the ways things went. A lot of it was my fault due to me being financially incompetent, but she also admitted that she hadn't loved me for over a year ( our child was only 9 months old at the time). And to make things worse I was very rude for the first month of the break up just cause I was hurt. But since then I've changed my attitude I give her 450 a month plus pay for our sons insurance and even pay the full phone bill for both of us. But she will only allow me to see him 5 hours every other weekend and I can come to her house and see him as long as I give her 48 hours notice. The problem is though I'm no longer comfortable over her house cause of things I had to deal with the biggest issue was her attitude I'm his mother what I say goes even her mom had more say then me I had to ask before I done anything with him and have never been allowed to take him anywhere. On top of that she has always became distant of my family when it came to them seeing him it was always they can come over to my house. My son is now over a year old and she has only increased my time with him by 30 minutes for each visit every couple of months. I'm trying so hard to try to get where she will communicate with me and understand how this hurts all of us my family and I along with our son ( he refuses to leave me and fusses when it's time to go, and will even turn away from his mom if I have him). I've admitted to my faults and try to atleast better then so I can be a better role model for my son but the only way I can get time extra time with him is when she gets an attitude with me and blames me for not coming over to see him at her place and I get an attitude back. But I don't want our son to deal with that and I know from my child hood experience's that his will either result in him hating me or him hating her. But I still continue to try work with her basically doing things her way but I feel more like a dead beat dad then I do a father because i feel like in a way I have to choose between me and little man being happy or her being content. But she seems to only know how to yell at me and ridicule me, many times I've brought things to her about changes that would help me and she shuts me down immediately by snapping at me. Or she will put me down saying I can't do something to better myself or my life. In a way I've kinda started to believe her and a few times have even thought maybe he would be better without me in his life. I know this isn't true but I'm being branded the criminal by her and her mom. It's very hard trying to figure this out cause I know I need to get my own place but with this burden it's hard to get my mind in the right place to go, cause more than anything I want more time with my son and want to be able to take him places myself. He hasn't met any of my friends, he barely knows my family, and I haven't felt like I'm a father at all due to all of this only a failure. He means so much to me, my real father want in my life and I know how much that hurt me growing up and I don't want him to feel that way about me and my family. But is there a way to show her what she is doing is wrong, or show her I'm trying to be his dad and trying to be a good one? And I'm the one who is in the wrong?

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Guest Monday, 23 October 2017