When there is tension in the co-parenting relationship, pickups and drop-offs can often be the spark needed to set off conflict, especially conflict in front of the child. Below are a few tips to help with smooth transitions:
Send a summary update email ahead of drop off to avoid discussion during transitions
Utilize the BIFF method: Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm. You can read more about this approach here
Utilize technology such as Our Family Wizard to assist with communication and coordination.
If the other co-parent is insistent on engaging in discussions that will trigger conflict, acknowledge the parent's concerns, and commit to responding via email. It is important to walk away so that you cannot be drawn back into the discussion
Keep hello and goodbye with children short to prevent/reduce anxiety
Keep duplicate clothes, etc in both homes so there isn't a lot of items to trade off at each transition
Always wish the children a positive visit so they feel confident in making the transition
If conflict seems unavoidable, stay in the car at transition or have a caretaker or family member pick up or drop off the kids instead
Most importantly, lead by example. Your kids are watching everything you do and internalizing your interactions with their other parent how you model conflict resolution are tools they will employ in their life. To learn more about having transition protocols in your parenting plan, contact us.
Author: Colleen Contreras, Owner/Founding Member of Tooher and Contreras Law, PLLC