If you and your co-parent have a difficult time communicating amicably about the kids in the early months after your break-up in person or via phone, you may decide that it’s best to stick to written communication. Some co-parents find that texting can be almost as bad. It’s easy to be provoked and respond in the moment to a string of texts coming up on your phone.
That’s why e-mail communication is often recommended in these cases. However, people can be just as passive-aggressive and combative in writing. If you have a co-parent who manages to turn what should be a simple email about your child’s biology project or soccer game into an indictment of your parenting or a reminder of your failings as a spouse, you can learn to cut through the extraneous negativity and deal with the matter at hand.
Dealing with a hostile email
Read through the email and isolate the question or issue that involves your child. It may help to highlight that sentence or two. It makes it easier to focus on that and ignore the rest.
Respond to the question or concern about your child briefly. It may be as simple as a yes or no. At most, it may be a few sentences. Ignore extraneous comments your co-parent made. By keeping your answers brief, you’re also showing that you’ve got better things to do than engage with them and that your relationship is now solely based on co-parenting.
Once they realize they’re not going to get a rise out of you, they may stop wasting their time. If they find that pushing your buttons no longer has the effect it once did, it won’t be any fun.
Even if your co-parent throws in some statements that are blatantly untrue, you don’t have to correct the record on all of them. If they’re not accusing you of something egregious like neglect, abuse or withholding parenting time, it may be best to let it go – especially if you know they’re aware they’re making false accusations.
Try this strategy and see if there’s a change in the tone of these emails – even if it takes a little time to see it. If you’re still having difficulty having necessary communication with your co-parent because of their continued hostility or if they continue to make false accusations, talk with your legal team.