Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Divorced parents in hostile relationships use technology to sabotage communication

Date:
August 27, 2012
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Separated and divorced couples are increasingly using emails, texting and social media to communicate with their ex-partners about their children. However, when ex-spouses use that technology to withhold or manipulate information, the children are the ones who suffer most, according to a family studies expert. A new study suggests divorce counselors should teach separated parents effective ways to use communication technology in order to maintain healthy environments for their children.

Separated and divorced couples are increasingly using emails, texting and social media to communicate with their ex-partners about their children. However, when ex-spouses use that technology to withhold or manipulate information, the children are the ones who suffer most, according to a University of Missouri family studies expert. A new study suggests divorce counselors should teach separated parents effective ways to use communication technology in order to maintain healthy environments for their children.

Lawrence Ganong, a professor of human development and family studies at MU, found that ex-partners who were cooperative with one another used emails and texting to facilitate effective co-parenting, while couples who did not get along used communication technology to avoid confrontations and control their former partners' access to their children.

"Technology makes it easier for divorced couples to get along, and it also makes it easier for them not to get along," said Ganong, who also is a professor of nursing at MU. "Parents who use technology effectively can make co-parenting easier, which places less stress on the children. Parents who use communication technology to manipulate or withhold information from the other parent can cause pain to the child."

Ganong and his colleagues interviewed 49 divorced parents individually about the quality of their relationships with their ex-partners.

Parents who had cooperative relationships saw communication technology (email, texting) as an effective tool to coordinate exchanges of their children, and some even used online calendars to share information about their children's activities. However, separated parents who had hostile relationships used the same technology to manipulate their ex-spouses and limit communication. For example, some parents in the study pretended they never received emails from their former partners. Regardless of how the couples got along, nearly all of the divorced parents used communication technology to maintain household boundaries and establish records of decisions.

When divorces end with some hostility between the parents, Ganong suggests that divorce counselors focus on teaching the couples effective ways to use technology to communicate with one another. Doing so will help children transition more smoothly between the two homes and keep them from being caught in the middle of their parents' conflicts, he said.

"Parents who are hostile need to set their feelings aside and understand that they need to communicate effectively in order to protect the emotional well-being of their children," Ganong said. "Email is a great resource for hostile parents who can't talk face-to-face. They can communicate essential information while editing what they say to avoid conflict. Also, the parents have a record of what was agreed upon."

Ganong is a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences and also is a professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. The original article was written by Jerett Rion. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lawrence H. Ganong, Marilyn Coleman, Richard Feistman, Tyler Jamison, Melinda Stafford Markham. Communication Technology and Postdivorce Coparenting. Family Relations, 2012; 61 (3): 397 DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2012.00706.x

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Divorced parents in hostile relationships use technology to sabotage communication." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827162053.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2012, August 27). Divorced parents in hostile relationships use technology to sabotage communication. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827162053.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Divorced parents in hostile relationships use technology to sabotage communication." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827162053.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins