Putting Children Before Conflict
Managing a co-parenting relationship can be tricky, especially if the relationship once had with this person ended on bad or complicated terms. Bitterness and conflict can get in the way of co-parents putting their focus on raising their children together.
In this situation, co-parents may not realise that when their focal point is not centred on finding ways to cooperate and parent together, their conflict can hurt their children.
Putting children before conflict is a vital parenting strategy for all co-parents to practice. If you're not sure where to begin, understanding how children are affected by parental disputes and working to improve communication can help you to accomplish this monumentally important task.
The Effect of Parental Conflict on Children
While it's true that all parents face moments of friction now and then, conflict handled with hostility has a different effect on children when compared to disputes dealt with cordially.
In a situation where parents are always at odds with each other, and the conflict spills out in front of the children, the adverse effects that this may have on the children include a range of both behavioural and psychological issues.
Aggression, anxiety, depression, and fear are just a few effects parental conflict has on children. Externalising these emotional effects is common, and they can manifest in all areas of your child's life including at school and in their friendships.
It's also common for children to carry the memory and emotions tied to these kinds of experiences into adulthood. Feelings of guilt and insecurity stemming from being put in the middle of their parent's conflict can tamper with a child's ability to make and maintain healthy relationships later in life.
Strategies for Putting Children Before Conflict
Whether or not you find yourself consistently in conflict with your co-parent, it is always important to always put your children and their needs before all else.
Tools like those on OurFamilyWizard can facilitate communication to help co-parents from letting their personal conflicts get in the way of upholding the well-being of their children.
Here are five strategies that can help co-parents improve communication and how OurFamilyWizard can help support these approaches.
Agree to keep your children away from conflict
It isn't healthy to put your children in the middle of your arguments; even allowing them to overhear or oversee what you're saying can be harmful.
To prevent this, use a secure method of communication that restricts your conversations to a space that keeps it from your children's ears or eyes.
With OurFamilyWizard, all of your co-parenting correspondence is protected within the app. Your account is secured with a username and password, multiple levels of encryption, and firewalls.
If you forget to log out, you'll be automatically logged out after a period of inactivity. Plus, any OFW notification that you receive to your phone will only offer limited details about the entry you just received. That way, your children are at a much lower risk of seeing any co-parenting correspondence, helping to keep them out of the middle of conflict.
Keep communication well organised.
Disorganisation can quickly lead to confusion and frustration, which could just lead to more conflict. To help keep all of your information in order, use tools to aid you in organising information based on topic.
The features on OurFamilyWizard are built to mitigate conflict by helping parents focus communication on only relevant, family topics. For example, when discussing a change to the parenting schedule, parents will use the Time Swap tool in the calendar to propose and plan this adjustment.
Each request can even include an offer to trade parenting time; this gives parents a chance to negotiate changes to the schedule. Approved changes will adjust automatically on the calendar without affecting the rest of the schedule. If a parent does not approve a trade or instead makes a counteroffer, the history of each request is documented thoroughly.
Make relevant information available.
Hoarding vital details about the children like medical or insurance information can be harmful, especially when crucial data is not accessible in an emergency. Inputting this data in one central, secure location that both parents can access helps to prevent this from occurring.
The Info Bank on OurFamilyWizard provides parents with a space to keep medical information, school schedules, child care data, shared files, and much more in one secure place. Parents have equal access to all shared entries within this section from anywhere with an internet connection. This makes it simple to pull up any specific detail the moment it is needed.
Be aware of your tone.
Sometimes, it's easy to quickly draft up a message and send it without taking much time to read through it again. But for co-parents facing conflict, not being mindful about how you phrase your messages has the power to create even more conflict.
The tone in which something is said can significantly impact the way it is received. To assist, ToneMeter™ is integrated into the Message Board. This tool will flag emotionally-charged phrases and give feedback about their tone.
This tool can help to promote mindful communication and gives you a chance to reframe the tone of your message before sending. Using ToneMeter™, parents may avoid future conflict by encouraging mindfulness in their tone when communicating with each other.
Enlist help from professionals.
When co-parents cannot end the conflict on their own, a professional may be able to help. Someone such as a mediator or another neutral third-party professional could help to teach co-parents problem-solving and better communication skills.
On OurFamilyWizard, parents can allow their family law or mental health practitioners to oversee the correspondence without having to forward it to them separately. This level of access to client information helps practitioners get the case information they need without having to wait.
Practitioners on OFW can even interact with parents throughout the account, assist in setting up entries, and create customizable printouts of co-parent correspondence.
Having communication monitored by practitioners directly on OurFamilyWizard may encourage parents to discuss matters of conflict more amicably than they may do so otherwise.
Putting children before parental conflict is essential on multiple levels. Beyond how it can help save children from experiencing emotional turmoil, having strategies in place to improve communication will make it easier to keep information clear and organised while also shielding children from any conflict that may arise.