Faced with an uncertain future, people in the midst of a divorce often allow their fears to dictate their actions, when the focus for any divorcing parent should be what is best for their children in an especially difficult time. When you have children with your soon-to-be-ex, it is critical to develop an effective parenting approach for after the divorce. Believe it or not, many separated couples are able to effectively collaboratively parent their children by approaching child-rearing with a team approach.
How does collaborative parenting work? The answer is that it depends entirely on the limits of your creativity. While we have presented some basic guidelines gleaned from our experience and this article, we know that every family is unique and only you, as parents, are able to satisfactorily answer what is in the best interests of your children.
Here are some general considerations:
Get On The Same Page For Extracurricular Activities
Take the time to consider ahead of time what activities your children will participate in as well as how much they will cost, who will pay, when the activity occurs, adjusting the parenting time schedule as may be necessary, and transportation to and from the activities. Children's activities tend to be a very common source of post-divorce conflict between parents. By addressing this issue early, you can get on the same page before the deadlines pass and conflict arises over unanswered questions.
Your children will have to go to the dentist and the doctor on a routine basis. Addressing the responsibilities of these visits in your parenting plan, including who will schedule such routine appointments, who will transport, who will be present, division of costs can ease any future headaches or misunderstandings. If your child has special needs and requires additional appointments, planning ahead is especially a must for both parents peace of mind. Eliminating as much conflict as possible between parents also has a significant positive impact on children of divorced families.
Holidays And Vacations Should Be Relaxing
When you develop a considerate, well-thought out vacation and holiday plan, everyone enjoys the time off more. It might work to have an annual meeting or phone call before the upcoming year in order to plan out exactly what everyone has in mind. This allows for planning and compromise and avoids the stress of last-minute changes or disagreements. Or, many parents include a detailed vacation and holiday schedule in their parenting plan to avoid future disagreements later. if you are including this, be sure to consider your children's desires to make vacations and holidays most enjoyable for them. Consider things like family traditions, proximity and exchanges to take place before or after a holiday so that the actual holiday is not disrupted for your children, but also for the parents who are transporting children mid-holiday.
We will continue this topic in an additional post where we consider rules for communication and the importance of being consistent but flexible.