What You Can Do When Your Co-parenting Isn't "Worry-Free"

Co-parenting after a divorce can be far from blissful when conflict is a factor. Many parents have a rocky start to co-parenting as they recover from the strain of their separation and acclimate to the different responsibilities of raising children from two houses. Similar to parenting before a divorce, parenting after will never be entirely without worry. Every parent is concerned about the well-being of their children, and co-parenting may present them with a whole new set of anxieties about how their kids will adjust to their new family structure.

When raising children from separate households happens suddenly, the scope of a parent’s worries may become overwhelming. They may even wonder if they will ever reach a point where they and their co-parent can communicate peacefully about their children.

If you are experiencing the typical growing pains that come with raising children after a divorce, here are 3 things that can be a balm for many co-parenting woes.

Use Worry-Free Tools

Your communication may not be worry-free, but parents can take steps to ensure the tools they use help reduce conflict rather than aggravate it. The way that one communicates with a former spouse or partner is often much different than it was before, so do not be surprised if more typical methods of communication no longer suit your needs when sharing important information about your children. Instead of worrying about whether a text message will make it to your co-parent or if an email will be lost in the shuffle, co-parents should consider using a system that is exclusively for communication about their children. Doing so prevents important details like appointment dates, pick up times, or medical information from falling through the cracks.

When choosing a communication platform to use for co-parenting, choose one that does not cause you to question the integrity of your information. Moreover, it’s important that that information within the platform stays organized and easily accessible yet remains highly secure. Traditional email, texting, or instant messaging services do not always prioritize organized communication and often allow for deletion of communications that may need to be referenced later.

Stay On Top of Your Responsibilities

Parents may be overwhelmed with the new duties thrust upon them after a divorce, but staying on top of these responsibilities will be of the utmost importance when trying to soothe communication. Avoiding necessary interactions—or mere information exchanges—because of conflict could exacerbate co-parenting issues. So what can parents do when co-parenting communication becomes overwhelming? One strategy could be trying out a new system for sharing information.

Tools formatted for co-parenting needs can help parents organize the entire scope of their communication, breaking down different responsibilities into separate categories. Email, text messages, or phone conversations can flood parents with expense reimbursement requests, event details, and other vital pieces of information in a single interaction, which could easily lead to confusion and conflict. But if those pieces of information are dealt with by using their own dedicated tools, parents can deal with those issues one at a time.

Be Prepared

Conflict can rear its ugly head unexpectedly. If you are prepared for this possibility, you'll be better able to correct the course of your communication quickly, reducing the risk of running into further disputes. For many parents, that could mean communicating with each other through third-party professionals such as an attorney. If safety is not a major factor that could influence the way you communicate, your ultimate goal will most likely be to get your communication to a place where the intervention of lawyers or mediators is no longer needed. But if you are still acclimating to co-parenting and its many facets, relying occasionally upon the expertise of others may be helpful. Being able to consult a professional and bring them up to speed in seconds may be vital for resolving issues between you and your co-parent.

If your communication about your children is spread across multiple systems, tracking down important information quickly and sharing it with professionals may be time-consuming and messy. Instead, try to use a central location for all of your communication with your co-parent. Not only will this make day-to-day planning simpler and more efficient, it'll also make it easier for you to accurately document details if you need to share them with a professional. OurFamilyWizard provides parents with the ability to grant professional access to their accounts to attorneys, mediators, and other legal and mental health professionals. Co-parenting takes time and energy, as does sifting through emails or searching for text messages to share with professionals. Having tailored tools that simplify, organize, and thoroughly document communication is especially helpful when trying to reduce conflict between parents.

Parents will always worry about their children, wondering if they're making the best possible decisions for their families and their kids' futures. So while co-parenting may never be truly "worry-free", parents can take the time to make sure that the communication methods they use ease their anxieties rather than exacerbate them. If anxieties begin to mount, parents can quickly become overwhelmed. When parents feel overwhelmed, it's easy for any positive movement towards creating a partnership as co-parents to be quickly derailed. But any family can keep their progress toward conflict-free co-parenting on track through careful preparation and by making sure they have powerful communication tools at their back.