Most kids look forward to summer break as soon as the spring semester at school starts. However, being a divorced couple brings a new layer of uncertainty – for both parents and kids. Without school to fill children’s daily schedules, an entirely different schedule within your parenting plan may be required.
Here are a few strategies for a successful summer plan for divorced parents.
Avoid parental power struggles
Parents should never argue over which parent signed the kid up for a certain activity. This is a time to foster support for the child and let them know both parents are equally engaged in their best upbringing. Parents should remember that kids should be encouraged to have fun with both parents
Respect your child’s interests
Although your life has changed since the divorce, your child’s life should remain as consistent as possible with all activities that have always meant “summer” to them. Remember your child’s interests should come first, even if you want to spend summer differently as a single parent or with a new partner.
Allow older children and teens to have input on summer planning
Avoid dictating how the summer will unfold to your children. If you and your former spouse decided on the summer parenting schedule, make sure your children have input on how they want to spend their weeks with each parent. This is particularly important for older children, who often look forward to spending time with friends during summer vacation. It can be a lot for a young person to juggle!
Avoid framing time with your child as “my time”
Whether the children are with Mom or Dad, the time belongs to the child, not the parent. Too often, parents argue that children can’t participate in certain activities because it’s “my time.” Remember that your children are only young once and you’re an important part of their lives. They’re not here to meet your needs.
Use summer to enhance parent-child time
If distance is a factor between parents, use the summer to maximize the child’s time with the parent who doesn’t provide primary care during the school year. While this is a general rule, the child’s age and any separation anxiety may be factor in how much time is spent away from the parent who provides the primary care. A good strategy is to ask yourself what time frame will best allow for your child to have a positive, stress-free visit.
If you’re experiencing trouble creating a summer schedule with your ex-spouse, Andersen, Tate & Carr can help.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-467-3205.