A much-anticipated University of Missouri study entitled ‘Communication Technology and Postdivorce Coparenting” has found that separating and divorced spouses are increasingly relying on social media, email, text and other communication technology – with both welcome and worrisome results.
On the positive side, researchers found that couples who embraced the convenience and efficiency of communication technology used it as a means to enable effective co-parenting, avoid conflict, and, consequently, reduce stress on their children. However, couples who didn’t have a foundation of trust took things in the opposite direction: they used communication technology to withhold or manipulate information, and ultimately place greater stress and strain on their children.
“Technology makes it easier for divorced couples to get along, and it also makes it easier for them not to get along,” commented Lawrence Ganong, who led the Study. Ganong saysthat separated parents should work with divorce counselors, and learn how to use communication technology in healthy and effective ways that make life easier for them and their children.
“Parents who are hostile need to set their feelings aside and understand that they need to communicate effectively in order to protect the emotional well-being of their children,” commented Ganong. “Email is a great resource for hostile parents who can’t talk face-to-face. They can communicate essential information while editing what they say to avoid conflict. Also, the parents have a record of what was agreed upon.”
At Divorce Magazine, we recommend that all separating and divorcing couples explore the new breed of online co-parenting software tools that help streamline, simplify and de-stress communication.
These tools also help spouses train themselves to become effective co-parents – which is a role they’ll be fulfilling for years after their divorce is finalized.
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