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Triangulation in communication may harm co-parenting goals

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | Child Custody

Triangulation can occur in co-parenting when one parent uses a third party, such as a therapist, counselor or lawyer, to communicate with or influence the other parent. For example, a parent in New Jersey may involve a therapist in the co-parenting process and use the therapist’s feedback to control the other parent’s behavior or decisions. This can create a power imbalance in the co-parenting relationship and make it difficult for the other parent to have an equal say in the child’s upbringing. However, there are a few ways to adjust a co-parenting situation with a co-parent who triangulates.

Communicate directly

One of the most effective ways to address triangulation is communicating directly with the other parent. This means not using the child or a third party as a messenger, and instead talking directly to the other parent about addressing the issues.

Set boundaries

It’s important to set boundaries and to make it clear that triangulation is destabilizing the co-parenting plan. This can mean being firm about not allowing the child to be used as a messenger or not allowing third parties to be involved in the co-parenting relationship without your consent.

Document the triangulation

Document the incidents of triangulation, including the date, time, and what was said or done. This can be helpful in case you need legal assistance or mediation in the future.

Address it in a calm manner

When addressing triangulation, remain calm and try to have a rational discussion with the other parent. Raising your voice or getting angry will only escalate the situation, making it more difficult to find a resolution.

Keep the child out of it

Remember that the child should not be involved in the conflict. Keep the child out of any discussions about parenting time or triangulation.

Stick to the facts

When discussing triangulation, it’s necessary to stick to the facts and avoid personal attacks or accusations. Triangulation can be highly frustrating. Keeping the discussion to the facts may lessen opportunities for animosity.

Be willing to compromise

Co-parenting is a process that requires a lot of compromises. Be willing to make some concessions to find a solution that works for everyone. Giving the other co-parent time to realize the behavior and reel it back may be fruitful.

Co-parenting ups and downs

Co-parenting can be difficult, and it’s normal to have disagreements or conflicts. However, triangulation can make the situation even more challenging and create confusion and stress for everyone involved, especially the child. Recognizing when triangulation is happening and working to find a resolution can create a more healthy and effective co-parenting relationship.