Communication as co-parents after separation is one of the hardest things to do. This article is written by Lorrie Brook who developed an online method of co-parenting communication for separated parents.
Communication can be one of the most difficult aspects in any co-parenting relationships.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are more than 1 million children who are not living with one of their biological parents; this is a staggering figure that will make anyone stand back and take a deep breath.
Parenting arrangements for separated families can be difficult at the best of times. Throw in special days and one can go from having an amicable co-parenting relationship to one that has its origins in the boiling pot of conflict. As such we wanted to give parents a useful tool; a tool that they could actually use and one, which would go someway to helping with their co parenting relationship. This is how Our Children Australia was born.
What does it do? Our Children Australia is an online co-parenting communication platform. When developing the software we spoke to many parents, we asked what it was that they wanted help with and this is what we were told:
- They wanted an honest record keeper – nothing that could be lost or altered over time.
- They wanted everything stored in the one place.
- They didn’t want to have to keep supplying the same information to the other parent over and over again.
So this is what we came up with:
- A communication wall – All discussions are recorded and cannot be altered or deleted.
- A calendar – to keep track of your child’s activities.
- An information bank – to record your child’s important information in one place (e.g. doctors, schools and medical information)
- A single incoming email address – any correspondence received is automatically send to both of you!
- A financial table – a simple table to keep track of expenses
- The ability to store and upload documents – for everything that you don’t receive by email – scan and upload and they will always be stored on our system!
At the end of the day it is important for you to remember that separation not only affects you as the adult but your children as well; but there are many ways that you can help them through this process; for example:
- Remember that the decision to separate was a decision that was made by one or both of you as adults in the relationship. It was not a decision made by the children. Children need to know that the separation was not their fault and reassurance that this decision had nothing to do with them.
- As adults you need to make an effort to ensure that children are not exposed to the conflict. Children should not be made to act as messengers between you and the other parent. You must at all times remember that you are the adults in this situation. Children should at all times be allowed to remain as the children and not perform the role of peacekeeper or mediator. You may find it useful to use a third party service such as that developed by Our Children Australia to help facilitate your communications and store information regarding your children so that it is accessible by both of you 24/7.
- Finally, children may feel obligated to choose sides. It is important that you as parents reassure your children that they are still loved. More importantly, it is imperative that your children know that they can still love both of you equally.
At the end of the day we are here to help you and your family. We are always after feedback and suggestions; please if there is anything that we can do to help you – let us know!
Lorrie Brook is the creator of www.ourchildren.com.au, Australia’s first website offering software which helps parents manage shared custody peacefully and protects their kids from being used as messengers