Couples separate and get divorced for a range of reasons. It’s no secret that emotionally charged situations become more difficult when kids are involved. As parents, we want to do what’s best for our little ones, but what we don’t always think about, is how we respond to distressing text messages or emails that we receive while in front of them.

You probably already know that having a verbal argument in front of your kids is not good for anyone, regardless of whether you’re still together, in the process of separating or trying to make co-parenting work. We’re not going to talk about coping strategies with that in this article. We want to focus on how you respond physically or emotionally in front of your kids when you receive a distressing SMS by phone or email, and it catches you off-guard. What does your response look like? Can you confidently say that you’re always totally in control of your expression, physically and verbally, when intensively negative messages are flung in your direction without warning?

Don’t worry, very few can honestly say, with their hand on heart, that they’re totally in control of all of this without fault. The good news is, you can improve how you manage yourself and your reactions, and at times that suit you best. Confused? Read on.

We all know that kids notice things much more than we give them credit for. Importantly, there is a large body of research available out there which suggests that kids both with and without developmental and learning disabilities can be negatively impacted by elements of stress, as ‘felt’ from their parents.

According to Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist Katie Hurley, parental stresses can affect kids in a number of ways. Writing from first-hand experience in her clinic, Hurley lists relational and marital stresses as key triggers of youth stress, placing this alongside financial, career and health stresses. Sadly, stress symptoms can show up not just mentally, but often physically, according to Hurley. Persistent stress can cause developmental and learning issues, emotional problems, physical illness and changes in behaviours, among other things. It’s important then, isn’t it, to protect our kids from this?

That’s another reason why we created Toppako – to help people communicate better in an easy way, while protecting their kids from exposure to negative reactions and conversations that might do more harm than good.

Using a simple traffic light system, Toppako enables you to control when and how you receive messages by phone or email, which means you can prepare yourself with greater resilience when dealing with your ex-partner or other person in your life. The system also helps you navigate your messages, giving you tips and ideas on how to have more effective, less confrontational conversations. This reduces the changes that you’ll be seen by your kids having a mini meltdown; and can help protect them from the kinds of stresses that might impact their health or development.

We have a totally obligation-free trial for 30 days running at the moment. You can register for that here, to test out how Toppako works.