Every parent wants to spend as much time as they can with their children. When it comes to divorce, parents typically understand how important it is that each of them stays an integral part of their children’s lives. Studies have backed this up by concluding that shared parenting should be the norm for children of any age.
It comes down to proper development. When one parent is dominant in the children’s lives, the other parent becomes just like a visiting aunt or uncle where strong bonds and a proper relationship is harder to develop. The importance to what each parent brings to the raising of the children while in a marriage does not go away just because there was a divorce.
Having shared time with the kids is only part of what makes dual custody successful. There are many aspects that will determine the success of shared custody. Shared custody will mean working off shared schedules, determining where holidays will be spent and constantly trying to figure out who is going to drive the kids to where they need to go. Here are some ways you can make shared custody plans easier on everyone.
It is not about you – The divorce will now cause you to work around a schedule you may not be used to. Everything you will now have to deal with should be focused on what is best for the kids and not was is most convenient for you. When you start asking for sacrifices or making changes to fit your schedule, you are likely creating animosity and frustration from both your ex and your children.
No bad comments – If the divorce was contentious and you are still harboring bad feelings, do not let them come out in the presence of the kids. First, the kids do not want to hear negative comments about one of their parents. Second, you are not in a competition with your ex to see who the better person is and then leaving it up to the kids to be judge. Speaking bad about anyone in the family can cause the culture you are trying to establish with your children to be one that is depressing and negative.
Respect your ex-spouse – While your ex may have been a lousy marriage partner for you, it does not mean they are a bad parent. By respecting your ex-spouse, you will allow yourself to feel more confident when the kids are spending time with them and you can cultivate a better relationship that will only help when working together in the future.
Know how to communicate – Whether it be online calendars, texting, email or having a sit-down talk occasionally, you should have a method of staying in touch. One of the biggest problems you will have sharing custody is when one parent is counting on the other parent and the message was never received.
Input from the children – As parents, you do not have to be the ones who solely dictate everything that happens with the children. You should let them express their feelings as to things like where they want to spend a weekend, holidays, trips, having friends over or who they want to be with when they are sick.
If you are going through a divorce and will be working out the details of child custody, you should always keep in mind what will be best for the children. Sharing custody will create a different lifestyle than what you are accustomed to, but it can be successful if you take the proper precautions to reduce the chances for tension.