Great Tips on Improving Communication With Your Spouse

Attorney & Mediator Stephen F. McDonough founded The Divorce Collaborative LLC of Medway, MA in 2009 desiring to have a firm dedicated to helping clients through divorce and other family law matters. He promotes alternatives to litigation, including divorce mediation and collaborative divorce.

Attorney McDonough has written a humorous and helpful blog post on improving communication between spouses.

How To Discuss Collaborative Divorce With Your Spouse

An excellent commentary on Collaborative Law and how to offer your spouse a cooperative approach in your divorce. The blog post is written by Richard Sharp, who has practiced as a solicitor in Family Law and Divorce litigation for over 25 years in Bath, Bristol, Swindon and London.

How Do You Create a Parenting Plan When Conflict Still Exists?

A Parenting Plan is supposed to provide a family with structure for parenting by detailing how the parents will exchange and contact the children, how the parents will share important information, and how they will discuss important decisions. A Parenting Plan recognizes the importance of both parents playing an active role in the children’s lives and avoiding placing the children in the middle of personal feelings and conflicts. When is the right time, however, for parents to mutually create a Parenting Plan?

Florida law requires all parents to have a Parenting Plan as part of a final order. At the time of the court proceedings, though, parents may be experiencing a number of emotions that affect their ability to create a long-term plan as co-parents. It is not uncommon for a person going through a divorce (or other Family Law proceeding) to experience feelings of denial, anger, and/or avoidance. This is not necessarily the correct time to make long-term decisions that impact children. How do you create a Parenting Plan when conflict still exists?

One of the ways to work through these emotions and create a workable Parenting Plan is to make certain it is lengthy and detailed. A detailed Parenting Plan protects both parents from being manipulated by the other parent. If there are residual emotions between the parents, the Parenting Plan should discuss how to handle issues that arise out of the conflicted parenting. This may mean the parents are allowed a period of time to disengage from each other for a short period of time. The parents would agree in the Parenting Plan that during the disengagement period:
• They will not communicate about minor issues;
• They will communicate using email and letters to avoid impulsive remarks;
• They will not use the children as messengers;
• They will work with a counselor, parenting coordinator, or mediator; and
• They will focus on doing their best job as a parent without criticizing the other parent.

The Parenting Plan that allows for periods of disengagement should also recognize a method for cooperative parenting in the future, which is in the best interests of the children. Cooperative parenting exists when the level of conflict between parents is low and they can talk to each other about their children’s needs in a healthy way.

10 Conversations You Need to Have With Your Children

The theme of 10 Conversations You Need to Have With Your Children by Shmuley Boteach is to teach your children to find their own way in the world by listening to their own, unique, inner voices. It’s a great message for all parents.

Some great parenting tips from Boteach are as follows:
• Continuously challenge your children to decide whether they want to be a good person or a bad person as part of your disciplinary methods
• Teach your children to be curious about people and life
• Admonishing children must be done sparingly and not overdone so that your Children don’t feel like you’re constantly pointing our their flaws
• Teach your children that one of the great secrets of life is that we all can control our emotions by controlling our actions
• Teach your children to never give someone the key to their self-esteem and worth. Children need to know they are a valuable person, and one can take that away from them
• Don’t let anger fester. If your child is angry with you, you need to deal with it, and even if your child only thinks he’s angry with you, you need to figure that out, too.
• Share family meals for opportunities to converse and share

Boteach stresses the importance of interaction with your children. He says that everything that happens in life provides an opportunity for conversation, and you shouldn’t overlook those opportunities; rather, you should train yourselves to see them.

All parents can learn from Boteach’s book that making the investment in children by conversing with them and teaching them their uniqueness will reap rewards. Work on motivating your children to hear their inner voices, and it will inspire them to become better people. Boteach says, “Success is never immediate, and sometimes it’s nowhere in evidence, but talking to your kids really works.”