September 18

The Keys to Avoiding Arguments with Your Co-Parent


Do you argue with your co-parent every time you have a conversation?

7 Key elements to avoid an argument
with your co-parent

Often times the alienating parent acts under the assumption-conscious or unconscious-that all their problems with her co-parent will go away if they can convince the children to hate that target co-parent. Since I’ve been working with target parents, alienating parents and children I have yet to meet an alienating parent who is happy about what he or she is doing and the reason is simple: for these purposes of alienation does not work.

There are many different reasons why parents try to alienate the children from the other parent, though they are not usually conscious of their motives. Trying to resolve guilt for abandoning the family, an inability to control rage after feeling betrayed and getting defensive at the thought of losing a parental identity are all possible motives. Whatever the reason, when “parental alienation” is involved, one or both parents have a difficult time seeing the side of the other parent, this results in hurt feelings, anger, and bitterness that last for years maybe even forever. The parent’s conversations are generally arguments and nothing ever gets resolved. Most of the time the target parent has to step up to the plate and take the high road. Included are a few key elements to learning how to take responsibility for your contributions as one of the two parents in your child/children’s lives.

1. Remain calm, and try not to make demands. Make suggestions and negotiate. If you don’t succeed at keeping the tension down, then agree to come back to the issue later.

2. Be specific about what you want. You should be able to describe in a way that the other person can literally visualize in their mind. If you are trying to get your co-parent to understand something you can’t explain where they can visualize it, then this fuels anger and that is unfair.

3. Avoid telling your co-parent that they are wrong. Instead, tell your co-parent that you have a different idea about how to handle a particular situation. This approach avoids someone being right and someone being wrong.

4. Understand that you don’t always have to agree. “Agreeing to disagree” is much better for the children than their parents continue to fight in front of them.

5. Put the issue into perspective. Ask yourself on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most important thing you have to handle and 1 and one being the least important thing, how important is this issue? If you rate 4 or less then it is probably not worth the battle.  Putting the issue in perspective beforehand creates less tension all around.

6. Listen for feelings. The art of effective communication is the understanding of how love and fear interact with each other. A good communicator knows that people’s emotional state is an essential element to understanding them.

7. Develop compassion for your co-parent. Our feelings are our birthright. Having certain feelings does not entitle us to act on them. There is a big difference between what we are entitled to feel and what we have a right to do. Use the Golden Rule “Treat people the way you want to be treated” and the Universal Rule “Act the way you would want everyone to act” to guide you in the decision on what behavior is acceptable and what is not when communicating with your co-parent.

These are just a few of the key elements in defusing or preventing a heated situation when dealing with your co-parent. Remember that compassion is the ability to see the world through another person’s eyes. Having compassionate communication with your co-parent you will teach your children this very effective and valuable life lesson.

For further support, try checking out our Conscious Co-Parenting online course, here at this link. Support at your fingertips.


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  1. I like the helpful information you provide in just your blog posts alone. I am quite sure I will learn lots of new skills from your content, as I have already found it to be really helpful. I will check out what else you have to offer. Thank you!

  2. On the off chance that somebody believes you're being emotional or self centered, they clearly haven't strolled a mile from your perspective. You genuinely must account for yourself. You get a pass here. Try not to let any other person attempt to burden you with culpability or disgrace. In the event that you really want your space, take it.

  3. I want to show my love for your kind-heartedness for moms and dads who
    need this kind of assistance in this devastating situation. Your personal dedication to solving this all over has empowered women like me to get to get their kids back.
    Your work means a lot.

    With thanks; from each one of us.

  4. I just stumbled across this and so glad I did. I know that the constant arguing is not good for our child yet it is so hard to keep the peace. Thank you Dorcy.

    1. Hi Haley,
      There is no true stopping of arguments, as there will always be something to disagree on. However, by following these tips you can avoid and mitigate them.

  5. This is very interesting, I’ve shared your website in my
    social networks so others experiencing this can get the support they need. I have connected with a lot of other parents in my shoes at your Facebook group. the one with 18k members. How sad that so many suffering parents and children are out there, and more….. thank you for these blogs that are easy to understand and learn from.

  6. Do you have any tips for narc coparents. they are impossible to work with. thanks for this but hard with narc exes.

    1. Hi Boyd, being high-conflict usually means a person has personality disorder TRAITS and qualities, or even a possible diagnoses of a PD. This often stems from unresolved trauma as well. It is always possible to mitigate conflict with even the most complex individuals. It doesn’t mean it will be perfect. When we have children with a high-conflict person, there is no changing that. It will be up to you to learn how to navigate that sort of person/relationship, not them. We can only control ourselves. Hope this helps!

    1. Unfortunately life is not perfect, humans aren’t perfect, and no co-parenting relationship is perfect. There will always be an argument that arises. However the argument can be mitigated, through the ways in which we share. Hostile arguments can be prevented by and through how you show up with your co-parent.

  7. Thank you for this- but i find it nearly impossible to implement if my coparent doesn’t respond so how can i get them to?

    1. How you communicate and ask for things, or address issues, will determine whether or not they will respond. We work with parents on this through personal coaching.

  8. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  9. Do you have a contact page? I’m having a tough time finding it, I’d like to connect with your team and see if you can help me.

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