The Pause Button: our top tips for co-parenting this Christmas

Originally published on 13th December 2022 at 5:00 PM
Reading time: 3 mins
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And a sneak peak into our new online course with The Co-Parent Way

Whether it’s the run-up to Christmas that’s making co-parenting more stressful, or you’ve hit a bump in the road, there are some things you can do to make it easier.

amicable has teamed up with The Co-Parent Way to bring you an essential online course in co-parenting. The course teaches key communication tricks and tips to enable smoother communication with your ex. We’re going to give you a quick insight into one of the tools you’ll learn on the course, to help you in the run-up to the holiday season.

When you're speaking with an ex and emotions are running high, it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed. You end up struggling to get your message across, and maybe even making things worse. We've all been there.

One of the simplest and most powerful communication tools you’ll learn in Module 5 of The Co-Parent Way: Essentials Course is how to create a Pause Button for yourself. Knowing when to not speak is one of the most fundamental techniques when co-parenting. It helps conversations run more smoothly.

The Pause Button retrains our brain not to interrupt during a conversation. It encourages us to very deliberately pause for a few seconds and take a breath instead of cutting short our co-parent’s thoughts. We can find pausing difficult because we may not want to consider the needs of our co-parent. They might be inconvenient for us, but pausing allows us to fully focus on who we’re talking to and what they’re saying.

Using the Pause Button means that we deliberately and consciously allow our co-parent the time to put forward their point of view. And we actively listen to it. Using these techniques means your co-parent will feel more heard. It will improve the level of communication in your co-parent relationship. And because you have more time to consider your responses you may also find better solutions to some of the challenges facing you, your children, and your co-parent.

So, how do we use the Pause Button in daily life? I’ve got 4 rules for you and if you take the course you’ll see how the Pause Button can be used effectively with your co-parent!

4 Rules for the Pause Button

1. Choose your pause button

it needs to be something you have with you all the time. A watch or a ring…Or you can dig your nails into your palms! This is your pause button. When you touch it, it will remind you to pause for 5-10 seconds during a conversation.

2. Pause before responding

During conversations with your ex, have your finger on your pause button and pause for 5 – 10 seconds before responding. You don’t need to tell the person you’re talking to what you’re doing. No-one needs to know. Only speak when they’ve completely finished speaking. This can be hard to do and it may feel strange, but it’ll start to feel more normal with practice. Persevere and you’ll see how it starts to transform your conversations with your co-parent and others.

3. Respond calmly and respectfully

When they’ve completely finished speaking, respond calmly and respectfully having fully heard what they’ve said. Remember that pausing is not at all about being passive or submissive. You don’t HAVE TO AGREE with someone. You can ask for time to consider something. But your responses will be said in a calmer manner.

4. Reflect

At the end of the conversation, ask yourself what using the pause button and active listening allowed you to learn that you might not have noticed using your old listening style. Pausing in this way allows you to calm down your nervous system and gather your thoughts. It will help you communicate with the clarity and purpose you need.

And remember, as you are handing over your children that they need to see you both being in control. They want you both to be able to parent them and to talk with each other. That’s probably the best gift they will get this year. You’ve got this.

For more information and to take The Co-Parent Way: Essentials Course please click here.


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