4 Proven Ways to Give Your Co-Parenting Communication Some Mojo

BY: - 9 Nov '17 | Parenting

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Not too long ago, I wrote about moves that would make people think that your co-parenting game was on point. When it wasn’t. Fake moves. In the long run, though, you want to drop the fake moves and create a genuine relationship built on trust, respect, and of course mutual love for your children. Where do you start? For some people, it comes rather easy. They just decide, enough with the drama, and they work it out.

But for people like me, there are a few more stages to the “why can’t we all get along” process. I know what it’s like to not want to breathe the same air as the other parent after things go south. Those times when your kids are looking out the window at 10 pm for the 6 pm Friday night weekend with Dad, and you have to tell them that they’re going to bed. Then you become the bad guy. You try to explain why you’re not letting your babies go anywhere at 10 when they were scheduled to go at 6. And then Dad calls with another never-ending excuse and when he comes in the morning, he’s still the good guy. Because, after all, he came.

I was that co-parent. Even I realized things couldn’t continue the way they were going. My favorite married-while-angry move back in the day was to drive to Tysons Corner, VA, spend the night at the new Embassy Suites with my baby, hit the mall on Saturday, and come home dragging packages and daring folks to say anything to me. (Obviously, I needed some Christian marriage classes but
that’s another post).

If you need co-parenting help click here to schedule a free discovery call with Alexis.

But the marriage moves don’t work when you’re single again. I had to come home. What? I was lucky if I left home. I had to come up with another plan. But then with some therapy and prayer, I realized I had to be the change I wanted to see. Sounds corny, but yep, there it was. Self, I said, this may take a while to get us to conscious co-parenting, but at least we can be PALS!

PLAN. Plan. Plan.

Rather than just talking off-the- cuff, and phoning the other co-parent to shoot the breeze or to run something by him, I realized I needed a plan. Planned communication, in the initial stages of positive co-parenting, means to know why you’re communicating and stick to that. If you and the other parent are still in the middle of the drama and the anger, going free-form will not work. You need 3 things in place:

  1. Be clear on why you are calling, texting, emailing, whatever, and reach out for that purpose only;
  2. Create a script or outline to keep you focused and then follow the script (even if it’s just a few words, which I’ll reference in a minute); and
  3. Pray before you call, or type

AVOID triggers.

When you’re getting your script together, and including the specific words that you need to use in your planned communication, don’t forget the triggers. Some words have a negative meaning within your relationship; don’t use those words. Some words may take the other parent back to a sad or negative part of their life; don’t use those words. Some words may hurt or inflict verbal wounds. Don’t use those words. Use positive, neutral words. If you can’t be nice, then strive for ‘not nasty’. Words
are important, so use them wisely.

LISTEN more than you speak.

What you say or write may not be what he or she hears or reads. When getting my Master’s in Adult Education, one of the concepts I had to ‘master’ is the fact that adults learn new things while processing them against the things they already know. (That’s the short version, but the point is that unlike children, adult learning is largely impacted by past experiences). Listen to make sure that what you communicate has been received. If not, calmly correct your approach – it means that you need to do a better job of conveying what you mean. You aren’t wrong, you just need to be a little clearer.

SILENCE means never having to apologize.

Or taking words back. Or asking for forgiveness. If the communication gets fuzzy, or your requests are misunderstood, or you forgot a trigger word and things got messy real quickly, breathe and be quiet. (If you are texting or emailing, just stop). If you must say or write something, try “You know what, let’s come back to this a little later” or “I pray that you’ll receive this better tomorrow”. Worst case, you can always go with, “oh, look at the time, gotta’ go”. You get the point. Don’t talk the two of you into even greater confusion.

Remind yourself that your short-term goal is to model the behavior you want to see. The long-term goal is to work together to support your children and to do so without negativity, anger, or blame. You know, those things that create an unhealthy environment for children and can even cause them to lose their self-esteem and sense-of- self.

Practice using the PALS method. Keep working until it becomes second nature. If you’re struggling with this, I suggest you schedule a Discovery Call so we can talk about what’s in your way. But if PALS is working for you, what comes next? How to Improve Co-parenting Communication: Part 2 is coming soon.

About the Author: Alexis Dobbins is a co-parenting expert. Through KidsNeed2,  she serves as a Mediation, Counseling and Coaching practitioner who specializes in supporting co-parents with the strategies needed to maintain a peaceful environment for their children.

Further Information: If you need co-parenting help click here to schedule a free discovery call with Alexis.

About the author

BMWK Staff wrote 1244 articles on this blog.

Content and articles from the staff and guest contributors of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com

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7 Ways to Boost Your Teen Girls’ Confidence with a Modern-Day Twist

BY: - 21 Nov '17 | Parenting

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When I look at my daughters, I think “If I was half as pretty, smart and talented as they are now, I would have been dangerous in high school.”  The problem with that statement is that I was just as pretty, smart and talented in high school, but I did not realize it and I really lacked confidence in myself.

And no matter how great we think our kids are, they must know this for themselves. They must believe in themselves and their own abilities. Did you know that girls’ confidence begins to drop at age 9,1 and by the age of 10 their physical activity levels also start to decline and keep decreasing throughout their adolescence?2

This is me during my senior year of high school. I was a honor student and on my way to college on a full academic scholarship, but deep down I still lacked confidence.

This is me during my senior year of high school. I was a honor student and on my way to college on a full academic scholarship, but deep down I still lacked confidence.

As parents, our kids look up to us and depend on us for guidance.  And we play a large role in how they see themselves and the world.  Therefore, we really must be intentional about helping our daughters grow in their confidence. This is nothing new.  But what is new is that modern-day parents must compete with so much more messaging that our girls are exposed to via social media and on-line platforms. Good or bad, these platforms are also shaping the way they see themselves and the world.

Our two youngest girls don’t have smart phones or social media accounts (yet.)  But, our oldest daughter does.  And I not only monitor the amount of time that she spends on those devices, but I am also monitoring what she is being exposed to.  If I don’t watch it, she will spend all her time watching others online and no time developing herself and working towards her own goals. And the only physical activity that she will be getting is with her thumbs and index fingers with all that texting and swiping!

This is why I am so excited about the partnership between Always #LikeAGirl and Target. They have come together to empower girls everywhere by donating one million dollars to Girls on the Run,

Girls on the Run is a nonprofit organization that provides a physical activity-based positive youth development program to girls in the third to eight grades.  It’s a 10-week program that helps develop a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness in the girls. And the program ends with the girls completing a service project for their communities and completing a celebratory 5K.

As a mom of 3 girls, I really love the mission of the Girls on the Run program because it encourages girls to appreciate health and fitness in a fun way.  I want health and fitness to be a way of life for my girls versus something they must do to maintain a certain body image.

To-date Girls on the Run has served more than 1.4 million girls. The one million dollar donation from Always and Target will enable thousands more girls to participate in the program and it will also help Girls on the Run reach their goal or serving 2 million girls by 2021.

Here are 7 ways to boost your girls’ confidence with a modern-day twist:

As I mentioned above, we, as parents, must do our parts in promoting self-confidence, such as enrolling our girls in programs like Girls on the Run.  And with that being said, here are 7 ways to boost your girls’ confidence (with a modern-day twist of course.)

1. Monitor what they are reading/listening to on-line. I am all up in their business every day. I am always asking, “What are you watching?” or,  “what are you reading?”

2. Talk to your girls every day.  In addition to encouraging them daily, we need to talk about what they are seeing on-line which gives us the opportunity to educate them and counter negative messaging.

3. Set Goals with them – Have you ever seen those hashtags like #RelationshipGoals,#SquadGoals, #HairGoals.  Teens use those hashtags when they see something online that they like and they want to aspire to.  Well, my girls set and work towards accomplishing their own goals. #MyGoals

meandgirls_bmwk

4. Keep them involved in extra-curricular activities. Cheerleading, basketball, reading clubs, chorus, piano, and soccer are just a few activities where my girls participate. If you have daughters in third grade through eighth grade, I highly recommend Girls on the Run as it would be such a positive experience they can be a part of. Participating in activities help them develop socially and boosts their confidence and self-esteem.

5. Lead by example – I don’t want my girls to see me lacking confidence and hear me talking negative about myself, I need to lead by example.

6. Watch your mouth – Since I know that words have power, I want my words to build up my girls and not tear them down.

7. Get on social media – Sorry parents, but this is the modern-day twist that you have been waiting for.  Don’t avoid social media platforms…learn how to use them so that you can monitor your kids and talk to them about what they are seeing.

My oldest daughter is giving me a selfie tutorial.

My oldest daughter is giving me a selfie tutorial.

BMWK – Let us know in the comments below what you are doing daily to boost your girls’ confidence?  Please join us in spreading the word about the great work that Always, Target and Girls on the Run International are doing to empower girls.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Always and Target. The opinions and text are all mine.

1 Self-Esteem: Robins, R.W., Trzesniewski, K.H., Tracy, J.L., Gosling, S.D., Potter, J. (2002). Global Self-Esteem Across the Life Span. Psychology and Aging, 17(3), 423-434
2 Physical Activity: Smith, A. L., & Biddle, S. J. H. (2008). Youth physical activity and sedentary behavior: Challenges and solutions. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

 

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 526 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.

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