Six Steps to get Along Better, Divorce Better, Co-Parent Better

child custody co-parenting divorce mediation Jul 24, 2022
Divorce Mediation and Co-Parenting Woodbury, MN

Making impossible conversations collaborative makes them constructive. You know I always
talk about beliefs and how they have a great effect on your actions. The higher the stakes, (like
your beloved children or your assets) the more likely you are going to clash. It is impossible to
have a conversation when each party is convinced they are right.

The crucial element that is often missing from these conversations is some give and take. As a
mediator, I facilitate your co-parenting conversations by listening and picking out the true issues. My hope is that I will teach you how to listen to one another rather than speak at each other. We don’t want
to pave the way to verbal combat by not listening.

Truly coercion doesn’t change anyone’s mind (and it’s not an ethical practice). But lots of
people have changed their minds after an engaging conversation. To me engaging conversations
are collaborative, where you are really listening to each other and understanding the others
beliefs. This can actually lead to changing beliefs. Working together you can achieve results
and solutions. Here is the thing that I LOVE if you want to change someone’s mind, playing
nice works much better than spewing your beliefs all over someone. Here are the 6 Steps to help
you have a collaborative conversation:

1. Listen

Let’s dig in a little more If you want to change someone’s mind you have to listen to them. As
you know most of us do not like to be lectured. (Maybe when I am taking a course but not
during a conversation). There are studies that support (Kurt Lewin study) that people are more
likely to accept self-generated ideas more than messages delivered by others. How do you know if you are lecturing? Ask yourself was I invited to share this information? If no, you are probably lecturing. Just think of the people you enjoy being around. It’s most likely the ones who asks you questions and listens. Everyone has a need to be heard!


2. Build Rapport

When you have a conversation that builds rapport it is easier to talk openly and get to the real issues. Like with friends. If we disagree about a friend’s belief we often let it go rather than trying to win an argument. Rapport is getting along with someone and being comfortable with them (friends). Because you have rapport you can have different beliefs and still be friends. When you have a friend with a differing opinion you probably feel they have good reasons for their point of view which makes you less defensive and open to suggestions. Now you cannot be best friends with everyone but it does lead us to believe that you can build some rapport with people you don’t know. In a divorce you do know the person very well. You don’t see yourself as friends but you can look back to when you did and try to work off this energy and begin to build new rapport in your new relationship. How do you build rapport? Ask general questions to break the ice and find common ground. In divorce and co-parenting keep your commonalities in mind when things get heated. And remember the other party is a person just like you.There is something that doesn’t help a conversation that I do too much off, parallel conversation.
When someone is talking about their trip to France; I start talking about mine. I know it feels like building rapport but it is actually not listening; it is using their stories to talk about me.


3. Invite Explanations

Ok I have to talk about this. People often express very strong policies-even though their understanding of the policies are sketchy. I do it myself. In today’s world we strongly jump into a belief but do we really understand the whole issue. Are we listening to both sides? Here is the thing if you want to persuade someone or change their mind; invite them to explain their point of view. Playing ignorance works well. When you invite others to explain their perspective it ends in one of two ways: 1. The other person realizes they don’t really know all the answers. 2. You will learn something you didn’t know.


4. Invite Collaboration

In the world today and in Divorce how do we grow mutual respect and openness during arguments. To begin it is so frustrating when we are misunderstood. Remember the other party feels this frustration too. So how do you criticize someone and still play nice? I am getting my information from the American game theorist Anatol Rapoport. He had a checklist for voicing disagreements. (Rapoport’s Rules). Here they are:

  • Attempt to rephrase the other persons position. Be very clear-it will make them feel good
    to be heard.
  • List every point that the two of you agree on.
  • Let the other person know what you learned from their position.
  • Now you can voice disagreements.

When you take these 4 things you invite the other person to be collaborative. These steps are not
easy in the heat of the moment. But as you know, we can do hard things.

5. Understand the other Parties reasoning

People are different some people are persuaded by facts and evidence; others are more driven by peer pressure. When someone is driven by peer pressure facts do not cut through. If you are working to persuade someone who is not driven by evidence just ask lots of questions, you could
even ask, “what would it take to change your mind about the belief?” and work from there.

6. Learn from Hostage Negotiators

Finally let’s learn from hostage negotiators: What do they do?

  • Minimal encouragers. These are very easy examples are yeah, I see etc.
  • Mirroring. This shows the speaker you are listening use the last three or so words they
    just said and make it a question like: If someone says “I am sick and tired of you not
    responding to my text messages!” You say: “Not responding to your text messages?”
    this gets the other party talking more and giving you useful information.
  • Build a golden bridge. You don’t want people to feel stupid when they change their
    mind, sometimes it will keep them from doing it. You could simply explain how you understand and that it would be difficult for you to change your belief if you were in their shoes.
  • Begin with things that are easy to solve. I use this tool on a daily basis with my mediations. Solving something easy can build momentum and keep things going in the right direction.

If you are going through a divorce or parenting issues contact Koski Law & Mediation
( I want to help you through your difficult situation and
teach you to mediate in the future.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.