Co-Parenting in the 21st Century
Everyone knows that good communication is a MUST if you want to successfully co-parent with your ex after a breakup or divorce. But all too often, a couple’s inability to communicate is one of the reasons for the breakdown of a relationship.
I often counsel my clients to focus on starting fresh to work with their exes as co-parents, rather than letting past hang ups hamper their future relationships. A goal that I often try to work with my divorcing clients is to try to create new ways to communicate that keeps the focus on the child/children. This is because research shows that good parental communication has a positive impact on children who spend time in two households. Co-parenting is rarely easy, but the use of technologies such as email, texting, websites, electronic portfolios and online calendaring tools can make communication between parents more timely, efficient, and productive, while simultaneously reducing stress and conflict.
I, along with many parents I’ve assisted, make very successful use of maintaining a Google Calendar that contains an ongoing diary and schedule of important events in the lives of the family and children. The benefits of Google calendars are that you and your spouse or ex can work together in creating and managing the calendar AND the information is easily searchable and modifiable AND it’s free. One catch is that you have to have a Google account to use the Google calendar features.
For a relatively small cost, there are online programs that can accomplish many of these same tasks (one of the most popular choices is www.OurFamilyWizard.com).
I also really like the idea of having a shared family calendar for recording memories and milestones. Not only are you using the calendar for tracking doctor’s appointments, school conferences and weekends you’ve swapped with your child’s other parent, you can use the calendar to record when little Jimmy loses his first tooth, aces his science project or gets his learner’s permit. Think of how great it will be to someday have a searchable diary of key events for your children. It’s the “baby book” of the modern era AND it’s a very helpful co-parenting tool.