Devising a Parenting Plan Can Help Children with the Issue of Divorce

After a divorce, parenting can become a bit more complicated.  When the kids go from one household to another, co-parenting sometimes gets confusing, affecting both parents and the children.  However, when you can sit down together and devise a parenting plan, you’re more apt to experience a good transition and have better parenting results.

What is a parenting plan?

When you and your ex were living in the same home with your children, chances are you were both on board when it came to parenting decisions. Things like rules and discipline were consistent, because you were all under the same roof. But when you divorce, it’s quite possible that rules and discipline may begin to differ from house to house, so sitting down and discussing a “parenting plan” can help your children by offering them consistency in the parenting department.

Parenting plans cover things like rules, disciplinary actions, education preferences, time schedules, custody, health care, extracurricular activities, finances, and more. Things certainly change when kids are being raised in two households instead of one.

For example, let’s say Mom has the kids go to bed at 9pm on school nights, but over at Dad’s the kids can stay up as late as they want.  This inconsistency at bedtime can end up causing problems, because maybe the kids will want to stay with Dad more because they can stay up late. Or maybe the kids will start doing poorly in school because they’re so tired from staying up half the night at Dads.  Having a parenting plan in place and following through with it can help both parents be on the same page. They might not always be in total agreement, but they can compromise for the best interest of the children.

Focus on the children

It might be challenging to sit and talk with your ex, especially if there’s negative emotions lingering, but remember that this is about the well-being of your children.  When you have a discussion, always keep the conversation about the best interest for them. Also, try not to look at things as right or wrong, but more like preferences.  If Mom wants the kids in bed at 9 and Dad thinks 10 is better, it’s not necessarily about right or wrong, but more about what’s best for the kids. Allow room for compromise.

Have a clear custody schedule

When kids are being shuffled back and forth from Mom to Dad’s house, it can become stressful for children if the schedule is all over the place. Sit down and define a custody schedule and stick to it as best as you can. It’s understandable if changes need to be made every so often, but for the most part, offer the kids some consistency when it comes to transitioning from one house to the other.

When should you create a parenting plan?

As soon as you can. Whether the two of you split last week or last year, go ahead and create a parenting plan as soon as possible. You’ll be surprised at how it offers the children more stability and security knowing that Mom and Dad are on the same page when it comes to co-parenting.  Children desire rules and structure, even though they may balk at it at times.

As co-parents, it’s your responsibility to offer your family structure, rules, and discipline to allow for your children to learn valuable things like respect, responsibility, discipline, honesty, and so on. 

Have you created a parenting plan yet? If so, do you have any tips for others who desire to do the same?

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