2023-02-09T10:27:38-0600 2023-02-13T11:08:24-0600 True Online support can be invaluable, but knowing where to look is key. Coach Marcie Shaoul covers benefits and what you can learn via online co-parenting resources. Online support can be invaluable, but knowing where to look is key. Coach Marcie Shaoul covers benefits and what you can learn via online co-parenting resources. /sites/default/files/media/image/2023-02/dadsonuk.png Co-Parenting Communication

Online Tools for Co-Parents: How They Can Help You Learn to Manage Emotions to Communicate Better

Separating with children is one of the hardest things that we can do. OurFamilyWizard provides a structure that can make it easier. Having support during this time is crucial, but it’s also important to be able to make decisions effectively during what can be a highly emotional time.  

Online support can be invaluable as we find ourselves awake at funny times of the night or searching for support. But knowing the right places to find the support is key. 

 

Dad holding phone with son on couch.

How online resources help co-parents learn to communicate better 

Online resources for co-parents can often enable them to get to a place where they can communicate effectively about their children despite whatever they feel about each other. There are courses out there to help parents communicate effectively together and because they’re online, parents can access them whenever it’s most convenient for them. Some courses even combine resources like coaching, practice tools, and even one-on-one support. These kinds of resources can be invaluable when you’re feeling overwhelmed. 

As a co-parenting coach, I am often asked what is the single most important thing you can do as co-parents. My answer is really straightforward: it’s about being able to communicate well. Online resources can help you learn new ways of communicating with your co-parent—while still keeping calm.  

 

It’s not about what you say—but about how you listen 

If you and your co-parent can communicate effectively then your children feel safe, they feel stable and can grow up emotionally secure and able to form solid relationships into adult-hood. I call this “The Co-Parent Loop”. Kids grow up inside the loop that is created by their parents’ respectful communication and effective decision making.  

I know that sounds simple in theory and that it’s harder to do in practice. One of the key things is communicating well is not about what you say but about how you listen. Think for a moment. How does it feel when someone is interrupting you? It’s frustrating to not feel heard. Apply that to a fragile co-parenting context and this frustration can escalate really quickly into conflict and arguments.  

Think again for a moment. How does it feel when someone really listens to what you are saying? It feels good to be heard right? And imagine for a moment you feel very heard, and then someone disagrees with you. Well, you feel calmer in how you respond because you feel as though they’ve fully taken your position on board. 

 

Mom on laptop with daughter on couch.

“The Pause Button”: A tool to help you communicate calmly 

One of the tools I teach is called “The Pause Button". Learning quickly how to pause and give your co-parent space to respond is one of the most powerful tools we coaches can teach.   

Here’s a mini guide of how to use The Pause Button:  

  1. Choose your pause button: It needs to be something you have with you all the time. A watch or a ring…Or you can dig your nails into your palms! This is your pause button. When you touch it, it will remind you to pause for 5-10 seconds during a conversation.   

  1. Use your pause button when communicating: During conversations with your ex, have your finger on your pause button and pause for 5 – 10 seconds before responding. You don’t need to tell the person you’re talking to what you’re doing. No-one needs to know. Only speak when they’ve completely finished speaking. This can be hard to do and it may feel strange, but it’ll start to feel more normal with practice. Persevere and you’ll see how it starts to transform your conversations with your co-parent and others.  

  1. Share your response calmly: When they’ve completely finished speaking, respond calmly and respectfully having fully heard what they’ve said. Remember that pausing is not at all about being passive or submissive. You don’t HAVE TO AGREE with someone. You can ask for time to consider something. But your responses will be said in a calmer manner. 

  1. Take a moment to reflect: At the end of the conversation, ask yourself what using the pause button and active listening allowed you to learn that you might not have noticed using your old listening style.  

Pausing in this way allows you to calm down your nervous system and gather your thoughts. It will help you communicate with the clarity and purpose you need. 
 

Other resources for co-parents 

Tools like The Pause Button are just one co-parenting communication strategy that can be learned through online resources, like courses. Beyond courses, you can find other useful resources on the web like podcasts, blog articles, and even online support communities to chat with other co-parents.  

Next time you’re feeling unsure how to handle a situation with your co-parent, try some of these resources. If you ever need extra support, consider reaching out to a co-parenting professional directly like a coach, your lawyer, or therapist. A professional can give you guidance tuned to your situation specifically.