LOCAL NEWS: Loveland mom creates app to help with co-parenting communication
December 3, 2020 at 9:07 a.m.
One Loveland mom, frustrated with app alternatives to work with her co-parent, decided that she could make one better.
Bianca Schroetlin said she was using other apps to communicate with her ex-husband about her two young sons, but was not happy with the app that she was using or the communication she was having with her ex. She tried to work with the app developer but that did not go anywhere. She tried to go through the courts to figure out the problem, but that wasn’t working either.
“I felt stuck,” Schroetlin said. “There has to be a better way, so I started thinking about how I could improve the app I was currently using.”
She founded the Peaceful Parent app to try to increase positive and productive communication between co-parents as they navigate the relationship. While she has no background in coding or app development, Schroetlin did research and hired a coach to help her get the app off the ground and has begun to outsource some of the work.
“The more I learned about app development the more curious I got,” Schroetlin said. “I am really fascinated by all of it.”
The app allows co-parents to message one another about important matters regarding their children. Messages can be personalized for any type of situation and any level of positivity. Some messages can be totally open, some can have character limits or time of day limits among other features and some, termed as canned messages, allow co-parents to only interact with each other through a set of prewritten messages meant solely to get the most important message across without any additional text.
“That is for more serious situations, where no matter what you do or say or ask politely, the nasty messages just won’t stop,” Schroetlin said.
Kayla Schneider, Bianca’s friend who lives in Northglenn, said she is using the app that Schroetlin was previously using and shares many of the same frustrations. While she has not been able to officially use Schroetlin’s app, she said there are many features that she likes.
“I really love her idea with (it) to have limits on how long things can be and have preset things for you to just type it in,” Schneider said. “It is difficult when your emotions get involved and there are pages coming back at you from the other parent.”
The app also provides resources on how co-parents can best communicate with one another. It will provide a tip of the week as well. Schneider said this tip, while just a small function of the app, can prove helpful during co-parenting situations.
“The one that is up there now is just a couple sentences, but seeing that and seeing a really easy reminder to be kind, that by itself is powerful and helpful,” Schneider said.
As the app has hit the iPhone market, with plans for an Android version, those around Schroetlin said they are impressed with what she has created.
Steve Majors, Schroetlin’s boyfriend, said she was dealing with her ex-husband who, she said, was not being cooperative or positive in working with her.
“We were just brainstorming and she just came up with the idea of wouldn’t it be great if there was an app that could narrow everything down to just what needed to be talked about in regards to the kids,” Majors said. “She started working on it and she has just been going at lightning speed.”
Majors said he is impressed by what Schroetlin has done.
“(Court approved apps) pretty much just create a document that is court permissible, but they don’t put you into an avenue that allows you to communicate effectively about the kids,” Majors said.
Schroetlin’s friend and neighbor Cayti Blair said Schroetlin approached her about the app for the first time over the summer.
“I had never heard of anything like that, didn’t know if there was anything like that on the app store, and she sent it to me wanting reviews and I was pretty impressed,” Blair said.
Schroetlin said one of the most important aspects of the app and what it does is not as much for the parents using it, but the children impacted by it.
“It directly comes back to the kids; because if the kids hear, and they do, the negative talk going back and forth, the banter between the co-parents, it affects them,” Majors said. “They are small, they are young, they haven’t developed an understanding of what is going on. So they want to pick sides. They feel scared, hurt. (With the app) they learn that two co-parents can communicate with one another in a healthy, effective way. They are going to take that on to other aspects of their life.”
Schneider said that, as she deals with continued court issues, having a program that makes co-parenting solutions to the point helps not only the co-parenting relationship but the relationship with her children.
“If it is positive and it is productive and brief and to the point, it makes it so you are able to trust that person,” Schneider said. “When it is brief and done correctly, it makes communication that much easier and it makes trusting and sharing and what your kids actually need easier to accomplish.”
“It is all about the children and how it impacts them,” Schroetlin said. “When you are a happier parent, you are a happier mom. I hope the app helps families from that standpoint to focus on the children and stop the nastiness. I hope it can give parents the ability to set boundaries to create healthier communication for a happier family”