Smart Parenting During and After Divorce: The Importance of Sharing Information (page 2)
Aside from sharing medical information and school information, it's important to understand the need for parents to develop a habit of sharing information.
Three Types of Information
Information about children between co-parents comes in three basic forms or types: good news, bad news, and just news. When co-parenting relationships are poor, most of what is shared is bad news, and the bad news is some bad thing that happens to a child that somehow is the fault of the one receiving the news. There is no need to go into great depth about why this happens. In poor co-parenting relationships, everything is always the other person's fault—poor spelling grades happen because there is no follow-through from the co-parent; bad behavior or trouble in school happen because the co-parent has ruined the family.
In poor co-parenting relationships, good news is shared only when the bearer of the good news can eliminate any joy that the receiver of the good news may get from it, and the news is punctuated by the phrase or insinuation "No thanks to you."
In poor co-parenting relationships, just news (neutral news) is not presented at all, or is turned into bad news, along with the typical blame of the recipient. Often it is withheld completely because one parent does not think the other has any right to information about the children.
Share All News, All the Time
If you want a good co-parenting relationship, you must get into the habit of sharing all of the news all of the time. Positive information should be shared with the implicit message "We are both doing a good job of raising our children, and I want to thank you for your part."
Neutral news should be presented as a matter of courtesy and respect, and to affirm that information about the children is important for both parents to know. The other reason to share the neutral news is so that everything that is discussed about the children is not either really good or really bad. Since even the best co-parents do not interact on a daily basis, it is not a good idea to learn to expect that any information about the children will be either "good" or "bad." Neutral news permits parents who do not have as much contact with the children to feel as though they are keeping up with all aspects of their children's lives, not just the highlights or the lowlights. Finally, sharing the neutral news prevents the perception that the only time information is shared is when there is a problem and the co-parent wants you to do something about it.
In good co-parenting relationships, sharing bad news is often a way of soliciting help, and that is a good thing—two heads are better than one. When sharing bad news, be sure to thank the co-parent for listening and for offering to help; and when receiving bad news, thank the co-parent for sharing and for affirming the importance of your contribution to your children's lives.
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