When parents separate, exposure of children to rows and disagreements can cause them a lot of emotional harm. Developing a way of working out disagreements can protect your children and keep your stress levels to a minimum.
Parents often have different views about what's best for their children, even when they are together. When you’ve separated, these disagreements can easily get blown out of proportion. Ask yourself how important the disagreement is. Often, the best way to deal with a difference is to look for a compromise or even just to let it go.
When dealing with the more important issues, arrange a time and place where you can talk properly and where the children won't overhear. Emphasise your desire to work it out and do what’s best for the children and work to understand each other. Don’t try to win the argument, and don’t make assumptions about the other parent's needs and motives. Ask questions and check the facts.
Be respectful. Avoid insults and blame, and don’t get drawn into the past. Focus on the future and what you can do to improve things. Keep reminding yourself that this is about the children, and that the best thing you can do is work together to sort things out.
If you’re struggling to communicate with your ex-partner, you may find mediation helpful. Mediators are skilled at helping parents resolve disagreements. They may help you see things differently, so that you can reach an agreement.