Co-Parenting STRESS words. Do your words build up or tear down?

Co-Parenting is a TEAM SPORT. WORD RULES a strategic starter’s kickoff game plan if expecting the team to score big. There’s stress enough just working through blending of the two homes and new members of the team. Some co-mingling transitions are easier to work thought but often the hurt that goes along with divorce or remarriage prevents positive communication from happening. Think about this…

What do you hear when you read the words below and can you imagine adding emphasis and volume when used in the sentence examples.

You, What, When, Not:

  • You never listen to me,
  • What is wrong with you,
  • When are you going to grow up, or… 
  • Not this time, you’re not going to do this to me again!

Whew, right! Sound familiar? And if these words are used by two parents, or co-parents, having a “loud conversation” just what are the children really hearing? Maybe you are on the receiving end of these tackles, or what if these words are so ingrained from other relationships we’ve had that they come out of our mouths automatically,  just like what happened to me. Could it be if we start the sentences with different words, especially in co-parenting conversations, that the outcome could work out better for us and reduce some of the stress factors? This new way of speaking may also help in communicating with the children involved in these new family ties?

So let’s change up  a couple of the sentence above.

  • I want to hear what you are saying, can we sit and talk about it, so I understand better?
  • I feel that we can make that work out when we sit down and really talk it over.
  • I think this time we can come up with a great plan for everyone. Let’s talk.

Trust me, it may not feel like it’s going to work right now using these examples above , but what if it does!! Practice, just like in football, may not make things perfect instantly but it’s a great start.

WORDS! They can be like two edged swords or love songs, and the good thing is we get to choose. And think about it which do you like to hear from others… criticism or conversation? Years ago, as a newly re-married mom, and with blended children of all ages, it felt like a constant battle just to get anyone to listen… let alone reason with my husband on all the new rules in place. You know the, “WHY does your kid get to (blah blah blah) but you are ALWAYS hard on my kid?” Thankfully I sought help and a school counselor said to start sentences with the word “I”. Sounded simplistic and he assured me that it was a super plan of getting anyone’s attention, similar to reverse physiology, but whatever I thought, we needed a better way to communicate. It worked! Also he said to speak softer so that they really had to listen, and that worked too. Want to get someones attention? WHISPER.

I used the football analogy in my Playing Fair, Mastering Teamwork in a Multi-Parent Family eBook to stress the importance our Role Modeling, aka being a COACH by guidance and example, to raising up confident, self reliant citizens we call our KIDS. Playing fair means everyone can win and with the least amount of unnecessary roughness and sacking.  Touchdowns occur not only in our personal happiness but the success we have as a family unit as well.

So, “I” can see that together we can Change Up the statistics on blended family successes in our favor. As my gift to you … download my “Action Plan Worksheets” to help families formulate their personal family Play Book at

I would love to hear your thoughts on these strategies, and also how did you help blend your family? What challenges have you had in any areas of co-parenting, that can be addressed in upcoming blogs?

Please comment on my FB page, Playing Fair Community,  and share with friends and family.

Thank you, Word UP!

Nancy Sustersic

Author, Speaker and Reality Coach – on what matters most in your life.

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