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  • Writer's pictureBianca Balogh

To Respond or Not to Respond... that is the question.

I heard a very good quote the other day: "Sometimes silence is the best last word. You don't have to attend every argument you're invited to."

One of the things I frequently think about in regards to my own co-parenting communication is: Do I need to respond? How is my silence going to impact things for better or for worse? Is a response warranted? Respectful? Necessary?

Here is the other consideration... Being ignored can feel pretty awful. I've been there when my messages aren't being read or answered. Using Peaceful Parent Messenger tells you when a message was sent and when it was seen. So you'll always know when you use the app. You may be thinking... "Hmmm. I notice that the message was seen three days ago. Why hasn't he responded?"

I believe, in co-parenting, silence can be used as a weapon or as an answer. Knowing WHY you're using Silence is important because it can be such a powerful tool.

I've used silence, or chose not to respond, when the message sent to me has nothing to do with anything relevant, i.e. it doesn't mention my children, it's giving me unsolicited advice on something that is not his business, it's "emotional vomit" (an attempt to unload a deep-seated personal problem that needs therapeutic intervention and is not your problem to solve).

Lately, I've felt the sting of silence used as a weapon. This happens when a relevant message is sent by one co-parent to another and all you hear back is crickets. Here's an example: "If you'd like extra time with the boys I can drop them off at 11am and pick them up at 5pm tomorrow. Let me know." The complete disregard of a co-parent related message like this one is an injury to the relationship. A simple answer like this one, "Sorry. That won't work for me. I have plans. How about next Sunday?" would go a long way at building on the co-parent relationship.

I would recommend airing on the side of responding. Even if it's to tell your co-parent, "I consider this message inappropriate. I will not be responding to messages like this in the future. I will respond to anything related to co-parenting and the children." Then after that, Silence IS the answer.

If you're considering not responding at all to a message from your co-parent, take a minute to reflect on why you want to turn your channel to radio silence. Have you been clear that your boundaries have been crossed? Have you stated what you will respond to and what you won't? Keeping the lines of communication open between you and your co-parent is essential for good co-parenting. Modeling good behavior means responding (set a good example) to some degree. But if a clear communication boundary has been crossed, maybe it's time for.... "chirp, chirp".



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