When parents separate and their children are required to transition from home to home, it is important to maintain an open line of communication between co-parents. This can be a challenge for most separated parents. Which communication method you use depends upon a number of factors, including the level of conflict that exists in your co-parenting relationship.
There are many online communication tools that can make co-parenting easier, but there are also other methods that may work in addition to or in place of online communication. Whatever method of communication you use, make sure you keep exchanges positive and child-focused.
Here are some options for successful co-parent communication:
- A notebook. This seems pretty simple, but there are many families that share information between households with a notebook. This may include notes about the children's current activities or behavior as well as events or important dates in the future. The shared notebook may include a calendar or other information and resources important to the children that both parents need to know. The approach can minimize the interaction between parents who are unable to communicate in a civil manner in front of the children. We recommend not using a child's backpack to carry the notebook, particularly with children who are old enough to read.
- Texting. This form of electronic communication is similar to the use of a notebook in that it can avoid the face-to-face interaction that is troublesome for some co-parents. However, the benefit of texting is that it is in real-time and may be more beneficial than a notebook for ongoing notifications. With that said, texting will require a certain amount of emotional control to avoid the escalation of issues.
- Phone calls. Some co-parents set up a regular phone call or just use the phone as needed to relay information. This can work well for those co-parents who are able to communicate verbally in a civil manner but who do not do as well in person. The phone allows for some distance but is also an efficient communication method. Similar to texting, this method is not for all co-parents as it will require an additional amount of self-restraint and control to avoid conflict and to keep the discussion child-focused.
- Talkingparents.com. This is a free of charge online site that keeps records of emails between parents.
- Ourfamilywizard.com. This online program does have a modest charge associated with its use.
- Civilcommunicator.com. This is a monitored website which has a modest monthly cost. A trained person received an email from one parent to the other. If the communication is not appropriate, the trained person will modify the contents to facilitate a more helpful communication between parents.
You may opt for online options or more traditional options like the phone or a notebook, or a combination of many forms of communication. There is no one right way to discuss child-rearing issues with your ex. It can be helpful to discuss what forms of relaying information are preferred or even acceptable when you are setting forth the terms of your parenting agreement. By getting on the same page as your co-parent, you will avoid unnecessary conflict.