More than likely, when you and your spouse decided to divorce, one of the first things you did as parents was discuss how to make the process and the transition as easy on your children as possible. Perhaps you agreed that regardless of your relationship issues, you both want to continue to work together to raise your children, which means you have already taken the first step in achieving that desire.
You and your future former spouse can take the time you need to find and create a vision for parenting post-divorce. Before you begin, you may find it useful to set out some goals for your parenting plan.
What does a good parenting plan accomplish?
Parenting plans are about so much more than just deciding whom the children spend what days with and how to address holidays, birthdays and special events. They can provide you and the other parent with an outline and road map into the future. More importantly, they can help you get your children through this trying time as follows:
- If you agree to follow the same house rules, rewards and methods of discipline, your children will know what to expect regardless of which parent they are with at a particular time. This also helps prevent your children from attempting to pit you against each other, which most children try to do even when there isn’t a divorce to consider.
- If you put aside your differences in order to work together as parents, it helps your children understand you both still love them regardless of what happened with your marriage.
- You can help secure the emotional and mental well-being of your children through positive co-parenting.
- You set a good example for them when it comes to overcoming personal issues to work together.
- You let them know that even when problems feel insurmountable, there is a way to resolve them peacefully and effectively.
Negotiating your own parenting plan helps create a foundation for your and the other parent’s post-divorce relationship. It shows the two of you that you can get along and work together despite your differences. No one says you have to be the best of friends, but at least you can function as a team to raise your children.
Even though your marriage is over, you continue on as parents for the rest of your life. Everyone wins when you work to make the best of the situation and give your children what they need to thrive in the future.