BIFF for Co-Parent Communication: Your Guide to Difficult Texts, Emails, and Social Media Posts
I am a disciple of Bill Eddy, LCSW, JD., having read everything he’s written that applies to family lawyers and divorce practice. He is the author or co-author of 20 books. My favorite are:
- So, What’s Your Proposal: Shifting People From Blaming to Problem-Solving in 30 Seconds!
It’s All Your Fault at Work!: Managing Narcissists and Other High-Conflict People
5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life: Identifying and Dealing with Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other High-Conflict Personalities Paperback – February 6, 2018
Don’t Alienate the Kids!: Raising Resilient Children While Avoiding High-Conflict Divorce 2nd Edition (2020)
The High-Conflict Co-Parenting Survival Guide: Reclaim Your Life One Week At A Time Paperback – October 1, 2019
Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder Paperback – July 1, 2021 (link is to the 2011 edition)
Then there is his new book that I’ve read: Calming Upset People with EAR – August 2021. (Empathy, Attention, and Respect).
And into this mix we have Bill Eddy’s newest book, “BIFF for CoParent Communication: Your Guide to Difficult Texts, Emails, and Social Media Posts.” It’s the Number One Best Seller in Amazon’s Divorce and Separation books.
BIFF stands for keeping communications:
The goal is to avoid what he calls “blame-speak.” Other guidance the book provides is to avoid with high-conflict people:
- Advice (speak for yourself and stay in your own lane, avoiding even friendly advice)
- Apologies (high-conflict people tend to play the “gotcha” re confirmation bias while emotionally mature people will not).
Learn not only how to engage in BIFF communications. Also but when coaching another person for BIFF communications ask additional questions:
- How do you think the other person will respond?
- Try to walk in the other person’s shoes
- This is the empathy part of Bills upcoming book
- Is there anything you would:
- Take out
- Would you like to hear my thoughts about it is a great response?
- If the answer is no:
- If the answer is no:
Often just reading a response out loud helps. Listen for the communication’s internal tone. Stay in a place of learning and not knowing with certainty.
The final chapter “You Decide” provides great advice outside of co-parent communications. The headings are:
- Managing our own danger signals;
- Turning off Blamespeak in our lives.
I have advised family lawyers to read Bill Eddy’s books starting with this book! I provide the same advice to clients. Read this book in any case where there is the potential for a parenting time or parental-decision making dispute! Or read this book if you simply want to improve your communications with a high-conflict person with whom you need to communicate in some way.
Bill Eddy also works with lawyers in terms of how to communicate with high-conflict clients, etc. He uses the acronym EAR for providing, Empathy, Attention and Respect while being boundary aware.
Bill Eddy further provides guidance to parents attempting to co-parent more effectively, urging four guideposts.
- Flexible thinking;
- Managed emotions;
- Moderate behaviors;
- Check yourself.
Keep in mind that the mandatory parenting classes in use in Illinois are quite basic in nature.
This program is a 12-hour program that should be considered as an option to supplement the court-mandated parenting class.
The 12 and 16 hour program agenda covers:
- Unit 1 – Coping with Stress (Managed Emotions)
- Unit 2 – Solving Co-Parenting Problems (Flexible Thinking)
- Unit 3 – Avoiding Over-Reacting (All or Nothing Thinking)
- Unit 4 – Influencing Your Type of Co-Parent
- Unit 5 – Extreme Behaviors and the Effect on Your Child’s Brain
- Unit 6 – Raising Healthy Children
- Unit 7 – Child Development Goals
- Unit 8 – Parenting Schedules
- Unit 9 – Using Professionals
- Unit 10 – New Partners and New Families
- Unit 11 – Handling Financial Issues as Co-Parents
- Unit 12 – How to Avoid Becoming a “High-Conflict” Case