Parent Training – Problem Solve as a Team
In our last 4 articles, we have focused on some foundations necessary to build a strong co-parenting team:
- “Parents Working Together”
- “Parent Communication”
- “Compatible Parenting Views“
- “Respecting the Other Parent’s Point of View”
Once you’ve built this foundation, the fun part begins: the process of problem solving and negotiating as a team. This process is more of an art that it is a science.
The suggestions I offer here are based on years of providing parent-training solutions for families whose members just wouldn’t agree.
In order to create happier kids, as well as happier co-parents, I offer the following:
10 Keys to Help You Succeed in the Art of Negotiation
- Keep in mind that you are all part of a parenting team, which means you must work together and cooperate for the sake of your children.
- Manage your emotions well before you enter into any discussions, and maintain control of your emotions.
- Listen and hear the other person’s perspective, no matter how ridiculous it may seem to you. Validate his or her feelings. You don’t have to agree in order to validate.
- When communicating, be respectful and speak clearly and calmly so your words will be heard. This time is when managing your emotions comes in very handy. It helps to keep your main goal in mind, which is finding the best solution for your child’s well being.
- Define the problem clearly before you start talking about solutions. It is very important to clarify that you are all focusing on the same problem.
- Be prepared to offer practical choices and alternatives that you can deliver.
- Invite your co-parents input and suggestions. Remember: you can all be part of the solution. Keep the dialogue open and inviting by asking all members of your team to share suggestions.
- Keep the focus on the child’s needs or issues. Even if you feel a co-parent’s suggestion seems impractical or outrageous, try to help the team consider alternatives and offer to meet the other parent halfway. Keep your child’s basic need for safety and well being the priority. This is not the time to promote your own personal agenda.
- Give positive feedback and show appreciation when a team member participates appropriately and is willing to compromise.
- When you’re negotiating with your co-parenting team regarding your child’s well being, “walking away” is not a diplomatic or responsible move. However, if you feel that the timing is not right (like maybe your ex is in a bad mood), or you are not able to maintain control of your emotions, the best choice is to offer to take a break from the process, and to promise to revisit it when everyone feels more ready and comfortable, including yourself.
Our next and final article in this series will be on :”Showing Your Kids a United Front”
I am available to do Parent Education Workshops, either Private or PTA Sponsored Classes. Contact me at 425-772-6698.