Picture this. An email or a text comes through from your co-parent. You open it. It’s yet another angry message blaming you for anything and everything. It’s unwarranted and makes you want to scream. Actually. It makes you want to write back pointing out every idiotic, ridiculous thing they’ve done as a way to tell them that they have no say in your life and they have no idea what’s going on.

But you can’t. You can’t because you’re the positive co-parent and you’re modeling better behavior than that. You know that if you stoop to that level, your relationship will stay at that level until one of you rises above it. So you don’t. Even though you REALLY want to.

If you’re in this situation and struggle with what to say, here is a list of 3 responses that stay positive and above board when your ex has given you nothing to go off of in communication:

  1. Thank you for the feedback.

  2. I appreciate your concern.

  3. Thank you for the reply.

Here’s a list of 7 more responses when you want to keep conversation open, but you sense anger and resentment on the other side:

  1. That’s a different way of looking at it, thank you for the perspective.

  2. Do you have any other thoughts regarding (any issue you are discussing)?

  3. Why do you feel that way?

  4. Do you think there are other ways of looking at this issue?

  5. Is it possible we’re both right here, we’re just seeing this from different sides?

  6. I want to understand more about what you’re saying, can you elaborate?

  7. I’m open to more conversation about this, it’s a touchy subject so I’d like to gather my thoughts and get back to you by (be sure to enter a date and stick to it).

These responses are all positive and ensure you’re not shutting down communication, but they need to be genuine. If you’re saying, “Thanks for the reply” in a completely sarcastic tone, it will absolutely shut down communication.

Your role is one of positivity and modeling mature conversation. Having an idea of what to say when tension happens can help prevent you from being reactive. These are just a few ideas. I’d love to hear yours. Do you have a go-to phrase to keep things positive when all you want is to say something negative? Comment below!

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Kaern Becker, MA Life Coach