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

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Guest Friday, 24 March 2017