How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable - Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis

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How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable

CFLA Former Member

It’s time to decide whether your child will get their own cell phone.  Whether you are going through a divorce, divorced, or never married, Collaborative Practice offers some valuable lessons for making this and other important parenting decisions.

There is a real need for certain limitations on your child’s use of their cell phone, to keep their life on track.  Agree on specified times for your child to use their cell phone.  Designate times your child’s cell phone needs to be turned off.  Why, when, and how, will your child’s cell phone use be limited, as a means of discipline?  Know the rules and cell phone policy of your child’s school and insist they be followed. 

Know the password to your child’s cell phone.  Any “app” on your child’s cell phone should be downloaded by you.  Make sure you know every contact in your child’s cell phone.  Teach your child not to share their phone number with anyone they don’t know.

Teach your child to let you know as soon as they receive a suspicious or alarming call or text message.  Teach your child to let you know as soon as they are being harassed or bullied by someone on their cell phone.  Teach your child not to answer or return calls or text messages from someone they don’t know.

Of course these suggestions depend on the age of your child, as well as a variety of other factors.  Every child is different.  Each family has their own ideas for determining what concerns are most important for them.  In Collaborative Practice, the parties and their Collaborative Professionals focus all of their energy and resources on creative problem solving.  In Collaborative Practice, workable options are found.  Collaborative Practice minimizes hostility, by emphasizing understanding and cooperation.

Collaborative Practice is for people who want respectful, civilized resolutions of the issues in their case.  Collaborative Practice is for people who want to protect their children from the harm associated with conflict and contentious litigation.  Collaborative Practice is likely to work for you, if:

  1. You want to put the needs of your children first.
  2. You want to communicate respectfully with your co-parent.
  3. You believe it is important to plan for the future rather than remain stuck in the past.

Kids are naturally impulsive and not great decision makers.  Their brains are still developing until approximately age twenty-five (25), in the areas of decision making, sexuality, emotional, and impulse control.  You know your child better than anyone else.  When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask for some guidance from the professionals who know about such matters.  Follow the recommendations of your healthcare providers and educational professionals.

Gary is an attorney and former member of CFLA.

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