The Benefits Of Technology In Post-Divorce Co-Parenting
A 2012 University of Missouri study concludes that cutting-edge communication technology can help divorced parents manage schedules, and promote healthy communication. However, when the same gadgets are misused, their children suffer the most.
It can be difficult to communicate with your former partner after a divorce. How can you amicably correspond without getting into a major argument? While life after divorce may be challenging, if children are in the equation, open dialogue with your ex is necessary when it relates to specific childrearing issues.
Research suggests that when parents limit conflict after a divorce, this helps facilitate children's post-divorce adjustment. Communication in our electronic age has evolved, so scientists are starting to examine whether new electronic communication tools can help or hinder parents working through post-divorce relationships.
Divorced couples are increasingly using emails, social media and text messaging to help communicate with their ex-partners about children. But researchers also find that ex-spouses may abuse technology and use it to hide or manipulate important information. Such behavior can ultimately harm children's adjustment to a new family dynamic.
Study Evaluates Parents' Use Of Technology
A team of scientists at the University of Missouri studied a group of 49 parents after divorce to determine how parents use communication technologies to assist with co-parenting. This study involved 60 to 90 minute interviews and detailed coding methods to extract common themes.
The parents interviewed for this study reported a wide range of ratings about the quality of their post-divorce relationship.
Some reported good relationships when they used technologies - online calendars and email reminders - to keep the other parent informed about activities, meetings and other child-related commitments. In these cases, technology helped limit conflict. Email reduced impulsive, unkind exchanges and gave parents the chance to edit comments, reducing the amount of callous remarks included in communication.
Conversely, parents with poor relationships reported that technology tools hampered co-parenting. These respondents abused communication tools, using them to limit information transmitted to the other parent. These parents used technology to manipulate ex-spouses and limit communication. For example, some parents in the study pretended they never received emails from their former partners, which complicated contact.
Regardless of how couples got along, most respondents used communication technology to maintain household boundaries and establish records for potential legal issues.
When a marriage ends with hostility between parents, divorce counselors tend to focus on teaching couples effective ways to use technology to communicate with one another. While it may be difficult, doing so helps children transition more smoothly. Additionally, solid communication can prevent children from being stuck in the middle of their parents' disputes.
If you are contemplating divorce or struggling with an ex following a final divorce decree, you should speak with a qualified family law attorney. A lawyer can help you move forward with your new life.
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