Sharing parenting responsibilities don’t always make the job easier.
In fact, parenting alongside your ex is often a bit challenging, if not
downright difficult. With summer just around the corner, it’s important
to start the season off right with a strong parenting plan that helps
you, your ex, and your children approach the next few months with a positive outlook.
To improve your co-parenting situation this summer, try implementing these
useful techniques and tricks:
1. Create a Summer Schedule
Summer break is often full of vacations, barbeques, beach days, and other
fun activities that families don’t always have time for during the
rest of the year. Also, children usually have a few months off for summer
break, which means they may participate in summer camp, daycare, or they
might stay home with one of their parents. Because summer brings so many
changes, it’s often in the parents’ best interest to draw
up a temporary schedule for the summer.
If you and your ex get along well enough, try to meet in person and create
a calendar for the duration of the summer, that way you don’t have
to worry about arranging things as you go. For co-parents who don’t
get along as well, you might consider creating a schedule over email,
or with the help of a mediator.
2. Let Your Kids Have a Say
Remember, this is your kids’ summer vacation too, and there are probably
a few things they’d really like to do. Take their requests into
account and see what you can do. If your child prefers summer camp over
daycare, try to make it happen. If they want to join a sports league or
have birthday parties they’d like to go to, see if you are able
to fit a few of these requests into the summer schedule.
3. Be Encouraging
The last thing you want to do is drive a wedge between your child and their
other parent. It can be easy to feel competitive with your co-parent,
but remember how this could impact your child. Never badmouth your ex
in front of your child, find a trusted confidant or friend to vent your
frustrations to instead. Encourage your child in their relationship with
their other parent and ask them about the fun times they had while away.
Don’t pry, but make sure your children know that they can talk to
you if they wish.
Also, if you feel comfortable enough, try to be encouraging with your ex
as well. If you have the children for a long vacation in Hawaii, send
your co-parent a picture of your child learning to surf. Or, if your ex
missed a big soccer game, let them know how your child did. The more you
communicate, the more likely your ex is to reciprocate the kind gesture.
4. Value Your Time Apart
Of course you miss your kids when they’re with their other parent,
it can be difficult to enjoy time without them, especially during the
summer. However, instead of dwelling on what you’re missing out
on, try to use this time to appreciate the down time or to get things
done on your own. Catch up on your to-do list and get everything done
so that when you do see your kids, you have more time for them. Or, if
you’re planning any adults-only vacations or outings, try to plan
them on the days you don’t have your children.
If you need additional help dealing with visitation or child custody issues
this summer, our firm can help. Contact the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny
to discuss your situation with our Houston family lawyers.