Communication Technology and Postdivorce Coparenting

Authors


  • Department of Human Development and Family Studies, 411 Gentry Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

  • Department of Human Development and Family Studies, 314 Gentry Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.

  • School of Family Studies and Human Services, Kansas State University, 101 Tullis, Salina, KS 67201.

Sinclair School of Nursing and Department of Human Development and Family Studies, 409 Gentry Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211 (ganongl@missouri.edu).

Abstract

Divorced individuals who share parenting responsibilities have to figure out ways to work together to raise their children. The purpose of this qualitative study of 49 divorced coparents was to examine how they used technology (e.g., cell phones, computers) to communicate. For parents in effective coparenting relationships, communication technologies made it easier for them to plan and make conjoint decisions about their children while living apart. Communication technology, however, did not necessarily make coparenting easier if parents were contentious. Contentious parents used communication technologies as tools to (a) reduce conflicts, (b) withhold information, (c) limit the ability of the coparent to have input into childrearing decisions, and (d) try to influence the behavior of the coparent.

Ancillary