The back-to-school season can be exciting yet chaotic — especially for families that are no longer together. Due to separate households, schedules, and parenting methods, divorced parents and those who co-parent are in particular need of structure during this time.
However, co-parents can successfully navigate this tricky season by keeping lines of communication open, coordinating schedules, and addressing any emotional and psychological issues when they arise.
Here’s what you need to know:
Keep Open Lines of Communication
Communication is not just important; it is essential to an effective co-parenting arrangement. Children develop a stronger sense of security and trust when they receive clear and consistent communication, so it is important to take the time to talk with them about their pick-up and drop-off times, scheduled events, and other details.
But that’s not all — while you must communicate with your children, it’s crucial that all parents involved similarly communicate with each other. This is required to make your plans work, especially when they need to change.
Although some parents may struggle to talk with their former spouse, a successful parenting plan requires all parties to put their feelings aside long enough to communicate about school arrangements. Using apps such as Our Family Wizard helps make communication easier, particularly for parents who find verbally communicating can be difficult. These apps can help monitor communications including the tone of your communication.
Consistency is important for children and parents because it gives them something stable to rely on, even when things get difficult. However, consistency often falls by the wayside after a divorce or separation, leading to miscommunication and an unequal balance in the child’s home life.
But with an effective, consistent parenting plan, the child will feel much more secure. To this end, remember that whatever schedule you and your co-parent have adopted should not change without fair and reasonable notice. While flexibility may be important, so is consistency. It is important to use a common sense approach and place your children’s best interest before your own.
While consistency is important, no schedule can perfectly predict every event that might require a schedule modification. Sometimes, you’ll need to alter your plans to accommodate an unforeseen situation. When this happens, being flexible about these changes will help keep things running smoothly.
Remember that you’re not the only one who might need to make changes. The child and your co-parent will also have various needs that require a modification to the schedule. In these cases, you must be understanding and gracious, while still ensuring that the child’s needs are met.
If you feel that your co-parent’s demands are excessive, this is the most important time to exercise calm, clear communication. If you face a stalemate, it might be time to seek outside help.
A Family Law Attorney Can Help
Back-to-school time is full of emotion and can be daunting for parents and children alike. However, it is also a chance for both parents to reaffirm their commitment to their children by learning how to work together for their benefit.
Yet co-parenting is not always easy, and parents often need assistance understanding their rights and duties. For help navigating the rules, consider meeting with an experienced family law attorney.