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Co-parenting communication


Your ex is your ex-partner but he's not your children's ex-dad, so however fraught a prospect, communication is crucial.

Whenever you need to talk to your ex about your children, try to separate this from any other topic of conversation. This ensures you both know what the agenda is and what your 'goal' is for the conversation.

It's also essential you avoid having conversations about your children, or any other potentially difficult topics, in front of them. Evidence shows that it's the conflict and tension between separating parents that damages children more than anything else, so make sure they're not exposed to any difficult or hostile conversations.

Obviously, there will be occasions when you have to speak to each other when the children are around, such as at handover times. Remember to be courteous, regardless of how you feel - there's no way round the fact that everything you do is setting an example to your child.

If there are messages you need to get to your ex, never use your children as go-betweens. Although it might not seem like much to ask a child to "Please remind dad that..." , it can far too easily put a child in a difficult position.

Not only may they worry about getting the message right and delivering it in the right tone, but they also have to cope with the reaction from the other parent. If they receive a roll of eyes and a sigh along with the "Tell your mum OK", they almost certainly won't tell you and will be left knowing there's tension and worrying that perhaps they caused it.


  • Get more information about talking to your ex from the Relate guide, Helping Your Children Cope with Your Divorce, by Paula Hall, from the Relate online bookstore
  • Chat with other Mumsnetters about the best way to communicate with your ex


The content on this page is supplied by Relate.

Last updated: over 3 years ago