In college, I majored in psychology and that was the first time I heard about “learned helplessness.” It’s essentially the notion that nothing can possibly help and therefore why bother trying. The classic and brutal example we learned from was an experiment a mouse. The experimenters placed a mouse in a cage and sent an electric shock along one half of the cage floor. Naturally, the mouse would walk over to the side with no shock. Then the experimenters shocked the entire cage and for some time the mouse would try to find a more comfortable location, but ultimately couldn’t evade the shock. Eventually the mouse learned that trying to escape the shock was pointless and it stopped moving when shocked. The experimenters then reverted shocking half the cage and even though the mouse could have found some comfort, it didn’t. It just laid there and was shocked, it had learned helplessness.
I see this with divorced parents all the time. They have an agreement to share expenses and one of or both parents has completely given up on following the agreement. They say things like, “I’d rather just pay for it then have to email him about this. Or it might be “I just don’t want to deal with her complaining.” Some parents are struggling financially, but just don’t have recourse since hiring an attorney and filing a petition is expensive. Like the mice, they believe nothing will change, and they have no alternatives, leaving them to resort minimizing the sting by bearing a greater financial burden than the what is outlined in their divorce agreement.
The good news is that there are mobile apps like DComply that are changing how coparents manage shared expenses and pay child support online. It works by removing email and text communication about the handling of shared parenting expenses and limits discussion of expenses to the mobile app.
A parent sends a bill and shares receipts through the app and because the other parent can makes payment on the app, like one would on Venmo, all the record keeping is done with ease on the app. Money is lightening rod for many coparents and therefore Susan Guthrie, a divorce expert said, “this is revolutionary, finally an incredible easy way to manage shared parenting expenses that diffuses the emotional baggage that exists between coparents. This helps them just stick to facts and focus on the needs of their children.”
We’d love to see fewer parents suffer in silence or live in resentment over shared parenting expenses. We strive to give parents hope and to consider trying something new for the sake of building healthier co-parenting or parallel relationships. To learn more about DComply you can download the app on google play or the Apple store.
We hope you’ve learned a lot about co-parenting, money and learned helplessness from this article and wish you the best.