Many separating or divorcing parents have trouble with co-parenting. Indeed, parents in intact households do not always communicate well. Add to that the strife of the breakdown of the relationship and it is no wonder parents struggle. I see poorly written emails and text messages on a regular basis. Parents talk past one another rather than focusing on their children.
While not a panacea, this video, produced by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section, is a great introduction to co-parenting basics. Communications should be Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm according to Bill Eddy, author of several books on the subject, including BIFF for CoParent Communication: Your Guide to Difficult Texts, Emails, and Social Media Posts. According to Eddy,
When parents use this approach, not only do they feel good about their end of the written or verbal conversation, but it tends to influence the other parent to communicate more productively as well. While it’s simple and practical, it’s not natural for most of us because we are hooked by the emotional intensity.
The video features judges and psychologists, including Judge Kim Eaton from Allegheny County. Also featured are Pittsburgh psychologists Deborah Gilman and Shannon Edwards. The acting is done by family law attorneys and their families. You will not be surprised that they are not professional actors! Likewise, the vignettes were written by family law attorneys, including myself and not professional writers. I wrote the first two sets about custody exchanges based upon many years of hearing about how exchanges can go wrong.
Co-parenting well is a gift you can give to your children. They benefit the most from it. Your children are the ones who are hurt when their parents fight, especially in front of them.
Hopefully, you will find something helpful in the video. Feel free to contact me and let me know your feedback!