Never text a tantrum or email your anger.
Too often, parents let their anger escape when they dispatch a nasty, visceral email or text message to their ex-husband or ex-wife, over a parenting issue. They snipe at each other on line: “I would prefer if you wouldn’t have that so-called girlfriend with you next time you pick up the kids.” “Why don’t you spend some of the money I give you every week on the kids instead of your fancy wardrobe.”
Carrying on the fight by email or text message is rarely fruitful, and it may backfire in family court. Emails and texts create hard evidence that can be assembled and manipulated by artful lawyers. They can be used to prove an unwillingness to cooperate or communicate, a belligerent style, or a pre-occupation with a non-parenting issue.
The better approach is to use emails and texts for informational purposes only. “We’ll be about ten minutes late getting back to your house. Stuck in traffic.” Or, “Joe, the school band will be performing in concert on Thursday night at the junior high school, and Allie will be doing her flute solo.”
By keeping personality and emotion out of emails, divorced and separated parents can build a much more responsible parenting relationship that will enable them to manage the tough issues in a more moderate and businesslike manner.
If you’ve had any good or bad experiences with texting or emailing between parents, please share.