Want to make co-parenting with your ex a lot easier? Even if that “easier” moment comes in the long run? Start implementing these guidelines ASAP so that parenting duties reach a place of smooth sailing sooner rather than later.
Divorce experts, from legal counsel to therapists, agree on one essential component of effective co-parenting: clear and effective communication makes all the difference. They suggest keeping interactions brief and business-like, in writing, routine, and strictly about the children.
For some, juggling those finer points of communication may seem overwhelming. It turns out that while most of us have plenty of practice communicating, we’re not experts at doing it right. After all, there’s a good reason for the overabundance of books, classes, and lectures on this very topic.
Effective communication involves empathy and putting others’ needs before your own. Those two things don’t often come naturally between two co-parents who are likely still nursing old wounds centering around the divorce. All too often, there’s a communication bias between co-parents due to hurt feelings and past experiences that cloud how they give, receive, and interpret information.
Luckily, technology can help you and your co-parent communicate better. Not only can the two of you maintain a business-like partnership, but you can also stay better organized with reliable information at your fingertips.
The not-so-secretive secret to make co-parenting easier lies in apps for divorced parents, like expense tracking apps or calendar sharing apps. An app is an extraordinary tool for co-parents because it streamlines and improves communication. They are time-savers and make co-parenting less frustrating, saving you time and frustration.
Knowing how you should act and communicate with your co-parent is one thing; following through can be a whole different story. You try hard to put your best foot forward, but plans are constantly changing, commitments aren’t met, and past grievances come up way too often.
Your frustration leads you to behave poorly and elicits negative responses from you co-parent as well. It makes your shared parenting role more complex than it already is.
When you and your co-parent use an app to communicate shared custody matters, you can do so without unnecessary words or interference and cut straight to the heart of the issue on the app’s platform. Paying part of your child’s back-to-school shopping expenses or signing them up for extracurricular activities is more structured and straightforward.
While emails, texts, or voicemails can get long-winded, apps steer the conversation back to the main point every time. Need your co-parent to pay their portion of your child’s doctor bill? No problem. Upload a picture of it or input billing information in a specially designed template to send them: no muss, no fuss, and no room for either of you to get off topic.
While writing as much of your communication as possible is the expert way to interact with each other (especially if the divorce is recent and tensions are still high), written words lack inflection and tone of voice. Should you and your co-parent need to communicate at length, consider an app that stores and checks the overall tone of your writing.
If you’ve ever received an email in all capital letters and assumed the sender was yelling at you, you get the idea. Subtleties of speech are essential. Without them, things can quickly be taken the wrong way.
It’s important to draft your messages and pause before hitting ‘send.’ Take your eyes away from the screen and return to it a few minutes later with a fresher perspective. Even then, it’s common to incorrectly assume the receiver understands your meaning and tone because of natural communication biases.
Because of past hurts, communication biases can be larger than average for divorced couples. Using an app with a tone meter ensures better communication and understanding. It alerts you to words that could be misinterpreted, seen as hostile, or legally used against you.
Another benefit of co-parenting through specialized parenting apps is that your communications are documented and easy to find. Should you need a reminder of what was settled, such as what you owe your co-parent, what they owe you, or a change in pick-up/drop-off schedules, you won’t waste time searching through email and text chains.
Need to document exchanges between you and your co-parent for legal reasons? Apps allow you to keep that info all in one easily accessible place. The information can’t be altered or deleted, and many co-parenting apps are court-approved.
You and your co-parent will share the task of raising your children together but separately for a long time to come. The two of you must establish effective communication methods for sharing details regarding your children.
Experts suggest communicating routinely, briefly, and in writing with your co-parent, but that can still be challenging through emails and text messages. Look for apps to help you meet those criteria. And don’t be surprised if those respectful communications, guided by your apps, result in you and your ex-spouse on better terms sooner than later.