This blog has repeatedly reinforced the concept that it is of utmost importance for divorcing and/or divorced parent to be respectful of the other for the sake of their children. The Huffington Post article,”Sharing Custody of My Child: What Do I Do?” suggests some proactive ideas for how to make the most of your shared custody arrangement.
1. “Make the phone call or Skype visit count.”
As with anything you tell your children you will do–be consistent and follow through with what you say. Younger children should be contacted earlier in the day before they are tired or cranky. Older children and teens should be generally be contacted later in the day when their activities and friend time is over so they are home. Be content with a shorter phone call if that is what your child wants so that the contact is a pleasure and not a chore.
2. “Use the Mail or eCards.”
This is probably a better idea for younger children. Older children would probably prefer texts.
3. “Get a Photo Opportunity.”
The article suggests a photo album of shared time, but more importantly each parent should allow a picture of the other parent in their room.
4. “Your Child has Enough ‘Baggage’.”
“Your child should not have to bring pajamas, a toothbrush or a change of clothes when they come to your home. It should all be there. Bear in mind, a favorite stuffed animal or blanket is an exception and should go back and forth.”
5. “Is There a Specific TV Show They Always Watch?”
“Or maybe a board game they like to play? Try to make these things a part of their stay with you. Activities like this can become mini-traditions — things they can expect to do when they’re with you and can look forward to.”
6. “They Should Know ‘The Deal’ at Your Home.”
The article suggests that your children should know the rules at your home. Frequently parents who are divorcing have different parenting styles. One is more strict and one is more lenient with rules. Be as consistent between your homes with your rules and expectations. You must understand, however, that you will most likely have little control over the parenting choices in the alternate parent’s home. So long as your child is safe you can only do your best to be consistent and provide a warm, safe place for your child in your own home.