In a revised edition of their 1995 bestseller, parenting experts Ross (How to Hug a Porcupine, 2008, etc.) and Corcoran (The Concise Guide to Magazine Marketing, 2008, etc.) give practical, psychology-based communication strategies for successful co-parenting after divorce, including a new chapter on technology applications.
Not intended for people with abusive or deadbeat ex-spouses, those dealing with the “usual” arguments will find familiar scenarios here—e.g., an ex who belittles, constantly changes schedules or doesn’t pick up kids when expected. Helpful tools are paramount for communication, such as a “problem pyramid” that defines issues and determines responsibility for peaceful resolutions. While situations can’t always be changed, individuals can change their actions by using “I”-focused positive assertions, curbing sarcasm or moderating body language. The authors suggest imagining an ex-spouse as a business client who may be unlovable but is also a partner in the child-rearing process. Despite best efforts, people can still be nasty, so a four-step communication “dance” or negotiation diffuses potentially explosive arguments. Tips for dealing with new technology include the how-tos of texting, Facebooking and e-mailing, such as the sage advice, “Your phone has an off button. You are allowed to use it in places other than at the movies” and “No matter what, don’t read your ex’s email.” The ultimate goal here is not to win emotional battles, but to raise healthy, well-adjusted children.
Great counsel for happily-ever-after a divorce.