Can you imagine how it would feel to have a healthy and positive texting relationship with your co-parent?
Cue the Tabernacle Choir and release of a hundred white doves.
You can completely alter the text-tone between you and your co-parent and positively affect your co-parenting relationship by making one simple choice: Future Focusing!
Texting about the past is almost always negative. Past-focused texts often involve accusations or place blame that can trigger defensive reactions and escalate conflict.
Remember: what happened in the past probably isn’t helpful to the goal of your text convo.
“Future-Focusing” means moving the conversion forward, away from a past-focused mindset. The most effective professional mediators use this powerful strategy to help people shift their negative, past-focused thinking to more positive future-focused thinking. This shift is important for solving problems and reaching your goals.
Here is a new healthy texting process for you:
- Pause. When you read or write a text that includes “you always” or “you never” or mentions the past in some negative way, pause and take a breath.
- Smile. You just became aware of a future focusing opportunity!
- Choose. You can choose to let it go and let your text focus on the future.
- Be Real. Stay true to yourself by communicating authentically, without judgment.
- Feel Good. You are acting for the benefit of your children—and caring for yourself by choosing to communicate in a healthy and strategic way.
This could be you:
- Co-Parent: Just be on time. You’re always late and never think about what I need.
- You: See you and the kids at 10 a.m.
Way to go! Rather than reacting defensively, you just prevented conflict by choosing to focus on the future. This new approach may initially be met with resistance or confusion if you haven’t shared this article with your co-parent. Over time, if you consistently apply this principle, chances are that your co-parent will adapt their text-tone too.
I can almost see those doves—look at them go!
Courageous Co-Parenting is Raising Arizona Kids’s monthly column for separating or divorced parents to learn conflict resolution skills, strategies, and attitudes for healthy co-parenting. These concepts apply to all parents. Please feel free to share the column with your co-parent.