Coparenting Tips for Improving Communication from the expert authors of Overcoming the Alienation Crisis: 33 Coparenting Solutions. For more information about OCB Publications go here.
How do I keep information about the divorce private so that my child does not have access to it?
There are several strategies a Neutral Coparent could choose to take:
- One of the difficult parts of divorcing is having to tell everyone in the social circle what is happening. Neutral Coparents pick out one or two people to whom they talk candidly and confidentially about what is going on. Everyone else is given carefully edited responses to questions.
- Store legal documents in a locked filing cabinet. Some parents create a separate, password-protected email account for legal documents.
- Prevent the children’s access to the parents’ computers and any digital communication devices that are used to communicate about the divorce.
- Do not talk about the divorce on the phone with family or friends when the children are at home or in the car (even if the children have earbuds in).
- Do not look at the children’s phones to monitor text or emails exchanges between the child and their other parent.
- Do not act on beliefs such as, “The kids have a right to know,” or “I never lie to my children.” In general, the rule of thumb is that as children grow up, they will naturally figure out on their own what is appropriate for them to know.
- When a Neutral Coparent is emotionally upset about a divorce- related event, they keep it to themselves, or they say to the child something like, “It’s okay; the divorce is difficult for us all. I just need a few minutes to rest and then I’ll be good to go again.”
- Neutral Coparents restrain themselves from correcting a child when the child says something that is factually wrong about the divorce. For example, the child says to Mom, “Dad says you get enough money in child support to pay for my school trip to Washington, D.C.” The Neutral Coparent responds by saying something like, “You don’t need to know about things like what child support pays for. Sometimes Dad and I don’t agree about who is responsible for what expenses. Please don’t worry about it. We will work it out as best as we can.”