Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

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5 Tips for Parents Who Share Custody

Custody Pic1Parents who share custody of their children must learn to communicate effectively without engaging in destructive, unproductive arguments. Below are five tips for promoting effective communication:

  • Non-threatening communication is most effective: People feel accused and respond defensively when they are attacked verbally with the work “You.” Avoid beginning your sentences with “You” and try to use “I” or “We” whenever possible. Using “I” and “We” reflects feelings or attitudes about something and does not evoke a defensive response.
  • Limit communications to child-related issues: Pay attention to your non-verbal communications. More than half of communication is conveyed through facial expressions and almost 40 percent through the tone of your voice.
  • Try to decide ahead of time that you will not engage or participate in destructive communication: This is extremely difficult and may even seem a bit strained at first. Remember: It is your choice to stay in control. Problems cannot be resolved unless communication works constructively in the family partnership.
  • Pay attention and avoid parallel communication: Have you ever started a sentence and realized that the other person was not listening, but rather looking as if he or she was preparing to respond? Suddenly, the person begins talking and you continue trying to finish your part of the conversation. Both of you continue to communicate in a parallel manner, no one is heard and nothing is resolved. Parallel lines never come together and nothing ever changes with parallel communication.
  • Learn to listen to the other party: How we communicate and learn to negotiate our differences is the number one issue in the success or failure of any relationship – business, personal, or otherwise. Good communication gives us a means to express our thoughts, feelings, needs, and concerns. As human beings, we all want to know that someone is listening to us while we are talking. Effective listening validates the words of the communicator. When you know that people are listening to you, most likely you will want to make a conscious effort to listen to them.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). To speak with an experienced family law attorney, call (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.