1.Be the Adult
1 Cor. 13:10-11 “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”
In other words; Learn to speak as an adult, think as an adult and reason as an adult. Divorce is emotionally draining and it is easy for us to start acting like a child. It is easy for us to stoop to their level. But don’t do it. Be the adult in every situation. Learn to stop before reacting and you will find yourself taking the higher road every time. Sometimes you may even need to learn new communication styles. Do whatever it takes to keep conversations with the other person clean, calm and clear.
Healthy communication takes time and practice to achieve. Many of us have developed bad habits over the years so it may take some time to reprogram your brain, catch your tongue and communicate in a way that will bring healing not division. Below are some tips:
- Begin your conversations by affirming “We are here for the sake of the kids”.
- Pray before initiating the conversations and pray afterwards.
- DO NOT bring your children into your conversations. Make sure they are not within listening distance.
- Re-examine your intentions, make sure you do not have a personal agenda or trying to prove a point. Keep it focused on what is best for the kids.
- Make your goal to understand both sides, rather than to manipulate or prove a point.
- Choose your issues carefully. Make sure it has nothing to do with vengeance or trying to hurt each other.
- Ask sincere questions: “What do you think we should do?” “How do you fee about this?” Then LISTEN to their answers. Don’t come with a hidden agenda.
- Give your full attention to the other person. Don’t plan your response, interrupt, blame or accuse the other person. Take turns talking and listen before forming an opinion.
- Communicate like an adult both verbally and nonverbally, even if the other person isn’t. This includes your tone, gestures, facial expressions, eyes, posture and the volume in which you are speaking.
- Approach subjects as a team player. This is not the time to try to control the situation. You both have the right to parent.
- If communicating with the other parent continues to be difficult, consider mediation.
- Do not approach difficult subjects when you are stressed, over tired or in a hurry.
- When negative thoughts consume you, redirect and choose to think positively.
Children need equal effort from both parents in providing guidance and discipline. God has made us each unique. You both have something positive to offer our children. Support each other in speaking, thinking and co-parenting. The risks are to great.