Email and texting has become an increasingly more common way for everyone to communicate but these options for communication have literally revolutionized how divorced parents can communicate with each other. Following a divorce, some parents cannot communicate with each other face-to-face without getting into a heated battle. Even a telephone conversation can be filled with emotional outbursts.
On the contrary, a simple text message letting a parent know the other parent is running late to pick up the kids can be just the simple message it was intended to be and nothing more.
Another recent development is online calendars which have also made co-parenting much more effortless for families. From Google calendars to other types of cloud-based calendars as well as outlook, parents can create a shared calendar to keep track of kids’ activities as well as pick-ups and drop-offs. Most of these online shared calendars are free. One online program called “Our Family Wizard” helps parents not only track calendars and kids’ activities, but it also allows parents to track and document expenses or medical information. The program also provides a place to securely store documents both parents might need. There is a fee for the Family Wizard and there are various levels of pricing depending on what options a family chooses. The program even allows one parent to pay the other parent’s fee if one parent cannot afford it.
Some parenting experts warn that the increased use of technology to communicate may actually do more harm than good. They argue that the lack of face-to-face communication can lower parents’ ability to talk to each other effectively. Sometimes an issue cannot be properly addressed in a text message or email. If a child needs medical attention, or is having trouble in school, parents may need to discuss the background of the issues and the possible options moving forward. Parents who do not have the communication skills for day-to-day communication may not be able to handle the communication skills to handle more serious circumstances. So although technology advances help in some regards, it should never replace face-to-face communications that parents need to accept and deal with for the sake of their children as part of their responsibility to co-parent.
The other danger of using technology to communicate is sometimes people are willing to say things in an email or text message they might not otherwise say to someone in person. Emails and text messages may be nastier or may be more accusing than a face-to-face conversation because it is easier to make accusations when you are not looking someone in the eye. The fact that there may be a record of the exchange, some people just don’t have the self-control to reel in their emotions in a text or email communication. Always think before you press “send.”
Generally speaking, parents who take advantage of technology to communicate are more likely to communicate regularly and communicate directly rather than through their children which lowers stress on children as well as on the family as a whole. Parents can also communicate more effectively with their children through the use of texting or skyping if parents are out of town. Of course nothing can take the place of face-to-face time with our children, but regular communication makes both parents and children feel like they are part of each other’s lives.
For further information or to schedule a consultation, please contact California Divorce Mediators at (949)553-0911 or at www.cadivorcemediators.com.