Documented Messaging Alone Won't End Conflict
Messages may, in fact, exacerbate discord between co-parents.
When conflict in co-parenting makes traditional methods of communication unsuitable for your situation, you may be feeling disappointed that you and your co-parent can no longer rely on phone calls, text messages, and emails to manage your children’s lives. Perhaps you feel that you should be able to communicate via these more traditional means, that the conflict you experience when communicating in these ways somehow reflects negatively on your co-parenting skills. But adjusting to co-parenting after a divorce or separation will require adapting to situations you’ve never before encountered, coupled with strong emotions that may frequently be negative. It’s perfectly understandable for ‘normal’ methods of communication to be inadequate to handle the stresses and overall planning required of co-parenting.
Once you’ve realized you need to make a change, it may be tempting to settle for a platform that simply documents messages between co-parents. To transition to a messaging system such as this may feel like the most natural progression from texting or emailing your co-parent; however, your family deserves a solution for their communication needs that’s comprehensive, that can anticipate possible sources of conflict, and provide you with solutions to reduce conflict before it occurs.
Conflict In Messaging
In a perfect world, we’d all be able to control the tone of our communication without issue. Unfortunately, emotions and old resentments sometimes get the better of us and tinge our conversations with unhelpful negativity. With co-parenting, it’s not always the content of the conversations that causes issues between parents, but the tone or the extraneous asides that parents are often tempted to include while writing that can perpetuate conflict.
If messaging is your only means of communication with your co-parent, you’ll most likely encounter the same issues you did when using text messages or emails. Instead of removing the temptations that lead to poor communication, parents talking through documented messages alone will be confronted with the same snares they encountered before.
Confusion In Messaging
Beyond the conflict that can occur when parents talk solely through messaging, confusion and inconsistency can also cause issues for co-parenting efforts. When messages back and forth begin to pile up, finding specific details about events, expenses, or requests can be frustrating. Sharing that information with your attorney or other family professionals can further complicate matters.
Single messages can also contain multiple pieces of information that need to be addressed, without any clear way of making sure that each and every point is accounted for. A message containing medical test results, activity schedule updates, and school-supply reimbursement requests will not produce reliable and complete communication. Important requests that require immediate action can all too easily become lost in the flood of information.
Messaging As A Last Resort
There are many inherent weaknesses in a system that only supports parents talking through documented messaging. Instead, co-parents should rely on a communication platform that provides separate tools for different categories of information. OurFamilyWizard has developed a full suite of tools that anticipate the specific needs of parents raising children in separate homes. Instead of multi-paragraph messages containing every piece of information about your children, you’ll be able to share, confirm, and track details with separate tools formulated with specific co-parenting needs in mind.
If messaging becomes necessary, however, you’ll still have a highly documented messaging system at your disposal. In addition to the first-view date and time stamps on messages, you’ll also have the option of proofreading the tone of your message with the help of Tonemeter. Tonemeter will flag emotionally-charged phrases when you are writing a message and give you feedback about how the tone of those phrases may be received by the recipient of your message. This gives you a chance to evaluate and even change your tone before pressing ‘Send.’ Emotions can get the better of us, but with Tonemeter, you’ll be able to take a step back and review your communication from a neutral standpoint, gaining lasting insight into where the tone of your writing could be contributing to conflict.
When communication is confusing or incomplete, parents can be caught in a loop of ever-increasing conflict. As details become overlooked, frustrations accumulate, making communication an even more fraught affair. Documenting messages alone is too small of a band-aid to heal the larger issues that plague many co-parenting relationships. Instead of settling for a one-trick pony for your family’s communication, consider investing in a platform that provides you with a robust set of tools developed by a team that will always have your co-parenting needs in mind.