How to Talk to Your Ex-Wife as a Divorced Dad

As a divorced dad, you're probably frustrated with the challenges you're facing--being a father to your kids while adjusting to being divorced. Talking to your ex-wife is probably the hardest challenge of all. Here are tips to help you communicate better so you can relate to your ex-wife in a positive way, thus protecting your kids from more hurt...not to mention yourself.

Get emotional closure. Divorce can accomplish that, but sometimes it's hard to let go of the idea that the wife you've known is now your ex-wife. When you realize your marriage is truly over, you won't have any hidden agendas--hidden from yourself, that is--in talking to your wife.

Speak to your ex-wife with clear intentions. Know what you want from an interaction. If you're feeling emotionally "iffy" when you talk to her, wait to address important issues until you feel more in control. Stay focused. Keep your kids in your mind at all times.

When interacting with your ex-wife in the presence of your kids, be a role model. Research indicates that kids of divorced parents model their conflict-resolution behavior on their parents.

Be assertive. Assertive is not the same as aggressive,'s stating simply and reasonably what you want. Rather than make demands, work with your wife as if you are slightly adversarial, but cooperative members of the same team.

Be prepared for old patterns to rise up again. Don't succumb to the temptation to engage in old battles. You're a divorced dad, not still married. Your ex-wife may say things that get your goat, either unintentionally or intentionally. Don't rise to the bait.