How To Communicate between parents when living with shared custody

I have my children a few times a year because I am at a long distance from the mother with whom I am separated. I have twins: a guy and a girl. Boy, I have no problem with him, even though he has ADHD.For the little one, for example, it’s something else. She also has ADHD. When her mother calls, that’s where it all starts. When she doesn’t call, the relationship is going very well. I try to make the mother realize this and she tells me that I always play the victim and that there is no discussion to be had with me.

After she calls the children, the little one pretends to be asleep and does everything in her power not to sleep. Not to mention the number of times she cries for no reason to attract attention. I feel like I don’t have a 9 year old daughter but a regressing girl, unfortunately.


For hygiene, it’s a real fight, you have to constantly tell him how to wash properly. We went from the bath to the shower to make sure she washes well and does not go to the bathroom.Is there anything I can do to make it happen someday? I try to make the mother understand to decrease her calls to give me a chance when I have the children.

Thank you very much in advance and have a nice day




Hello to you dear daddy of twins,

Not an easy situation. There are indeed many challenges to overcome in shared custody and unfortunately we have little power over others. This does not mean that there is nothing that can be done to improve the situation. In order to allow you to have a very complete answer adapted to your needs, I thought of calling on Kim Cairnduff, family coach, psychoeducator AND family mediator.

Here is his response:

Communication can be a source of conflict, but also a source of a solution.

I find that communication between the mother of your children and yourself is difficult. You relate that she says “  there is no discussion to be had  ”. And yet if you cannot speak to yourself, this task will be undertaken by your children which is far from pleasant for them. They will do it quite naturally without you asking them.

Of course, communication can give rise to conflicts, but it is also conducive to the emergence of solutions when it is done properly. It is normal that it is a little more difficult at the beginning of the separation. During the period of the crisis, a series of emotions are triggered, it is the deconstruction of the emotional relationship that begins, a moment of disorganization which can provoke impulsive and disordered reactions. I won’t dwell on the stages of grief, but tell yourself that if this period persists, surround yourself with your friends or a professional who can help you.


It is essential that parents manage to communicate if they want to share the children’s time with each parent. Studies show that it’s not the separation that affects children, but the way parents separate. Perpetual conflict and chronic tension further compromise children’s development which instils insecurity, fear, distress and confusion in them.Of course, children will react differently depending on their age, personality, temperament, exposure to other sources of stress, and the presence or absence of support around them.

In your situation, you say that your daughter has regressive behaviors. What can help children during this time of transition is to let them know that you love them and that you will still love them, despite the fact that you and their mother no longer love each other. Make them understand that they are not responsible for the separation. Encourage them to talk to you openly about their feelings and concerns and listen to them carefully without interrupting them.

This can be difficult, but it is important to let them express their fears, joys, and worries . If your children feel embarrassed to confide in you, help them find someone they trust, such as a family member, or a friend of yours, and see a professional if necessary.


It is in your best interests to communicate directly with their mother for your own well-being and that of your children.


But how can you manage to discuss effectively with their mother? Here are some tips for making a phone call.


  1. What are my intentions?

Before you call, make sure your intentions are good and that your call is focused on the well-being of your children, not blaming them. ”  I want the well-being of my daughter  ” you say. Concentrate on that. Consider picking a good time. When the lady answers, ask her if it’s a good time for her. If the answer is no, ask when you can call her back. Stay polite. Make sure you are alone and not in the presence of children. Relax; take deep breaths.


  1. What is my request?

Prepare your request in advance. Be clear and concise, no long speeches. Report facts and not judgments. Speak to the “I”. Use children’s names. “I have observed that following your calls“ your daughter’s name ”changes her behavior. I’d rather you didn’t call her while she’s with me. What do you say? »Show that you are interested in his opinion on the welfare of the children.


  1. Listen to the response

It is very important to listen to what she has to say rather than preparing your response while she is speaking. Don’t be fooled by his complaints. Deny the defense or the counterattack. Example, if she says “stop being your victim, you don’t know how to deal with her. “Or” you want to deny me access to my children! »Admit your contribution to the past problem. “It is true that I folded in on myself a lot during our separation. ” for example. Refocus on your demand and your intentions for the well-being of your children. “I would like to talk about children. I have observed that it gets much better when my stay with “children’s names” is not interrupted by your calls. I would really appreciate it if you waited until their return to talk to them. ”

If verbal expression is too difficult to contemplate, you can always start with writing. A good tip is to never send the first draft. It’s good to reread yourself and remove anything that is irrelevant or constructive.

You could also use family mediation or parental coaching. Help from a neutral person can help you resolve your differences.


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