Marriages struggle when conflicts between spouses go unresolved, often leading to divorce. Those negative feelings can linger long after a marriage is over. But, when children are involved, most parents strive to keep that conflict from causing significant harm to their kids.
One of the best ways parents can minimize the impact of divorce on their children is to craft a comprehensive and healthy parenting plan. When parents can’t agree on a schedule, a judge makes those decisions for them. It’s beneficial when parents work out a realistic agreement themselves.
What is in a parenting plan?
While these agreements can be relatively simple, highly detailed parenting plans offer the most benefits for children and their parents as many issues that create conflicts are decided ahead of time. A parenting plan spells out how parents will share time with their kids and make vital decisions, including:
- Where children will spend holidays, birthdays and vacations
- How medical decisions are made
- Extracurricular school activities
- Religious choices
- Screen time and household chores
- Sleepovers with friends
- How and when a parent will introduce their new partner
- Learning to drive a vehicle
Communication between parents
In addition to providing a framework for handling these essential issues for their children, detailed parenting plans can also set rules over how parents will communicate. This can include:
- How often and when parents talk to each other
- What information they will share about their kids
- How they communicate, such as through text, over the phone, in-person or using an online calendar
- Setting boundaries for their own privacy
Create a plan that meets your family’s unique needs
It’s impossible to allow for every potential issue that arises, so the plan should include a resolution mechanism when you can’t agree. In some cases, parents turn to a neutral third-party, such as a mediator or family therapist.
Crafting a court-approved plan that meets your family’s needs and one that can be updated as your children grow older is preferable. Despite the disagreements that remain with your ex-spouse, crafting a parenting plan together is one of the best ways to ease your kids’ transition and help them heal.