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separated parents communicate…
between separated or divorced parents can be problematic. Depending on the
age, health and circumstances of the child, these parents may find it
necessary to communicate with each other anywhere from several times daily
to at least weekly.
some parents, ongoing conflict can cause communications to degenerate
leading to more difficulties. With this in mind several strategies are
often suggested such as telephone contact or a communication book. Both of
these strategies pose problems.
telephone requires hearing the emotional tone of the conversation which
can easily lead to the conversation degenerating. Sometimes a parent will
tape the conversations for use in court, but then it becomes questionable
if this party goaded the other to increase conflict for the taped
conversation. Further, clandestine taping inflames the bad feelings of the
other parent who may seek retribution.
books or notes have the benefit of providing a permanent record and keeps
the parents apart, but poses two other concerns. The first is that parents
rely on the child as courier. This places the child directly in the middle
of the parental conflict and their emotional response as they read the
message. Second, if the message is only delivered at the time of access,
planning is difficult. Communication requires a dialogue to accomplish
agreements as simple as access arrangements. With a communication book,
the messages often take the form of directives from one parent to the
other with the alternate parent left feeling controlled. So as a solution,
this too can contribute to ongoing conflict between parents.
Email provides an alternative communication tool to help parents transmit
messages. It allows for a cooling off period prior to replying and
provides for a permanent record. The use of email keeps the communication
away from the child and removes the emotional impact carried by voice.
Because parents can respond back and forth, it also allows for dialogue
and so reduces the risk of one parent just providing directives as per the
communication book. The email trail can be reviewed if a parent has missed
a point and also serves as a clear reference if a parent forgets the
content of an agreement. The electronic record, can easily be printed by
either parent and as such, both are more likely to remain on good
behaviour knowing the record can be used in court or be made public.
time separated parents in conflict need to chat where conflict exists try
email, but consider these guidelines:
As a communication strategy email is not recommended to necessarily make a poor situation better, but it is suggested as a potential solution to keep a poor situation from getting worse. In the event that there is court ordered restrictions on face-to-face or voice contact, email may provide a reasonable solution for parents to still communicate.
Still fighting child custody issues? Use this:
To track your child custody schedule, use this:
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
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