If celebrities can do it, so can you. You, too, can have a picture perfect co-parenting experience with your ex. Right? Well, maybe. Your family is unique, and you face your own issues with your former spouse and your children.
You probably have a more realistic version of co-parenting in your head. You may not take vacations together or have a family dinner every night, but that doesn't mean that your experience can't be blissful for your family. In fact, you can create a parenting plan that helps you and the other parent reach that vision in your head.
Your parenting plan sets the ground rules
A parenting plan is about much more than just who has the kids on what day. Yes, a schedule is crucial and an important component of your plan, but you can also address other concerns that could make your co-parenting relationship better:
- Speaking of schedules, you may need to include some rules regarding the need for changes to it. Before making any pronouncements regarding changes to the children, you should agree to talk to the other parent first.
- This brings up the second point regarding schedules -- flexibility. Times will arise when you may not be able to avoid needing a schedule change. Work commitments or family matters may necessitate it.
- Each parent should have the right of first refusal if the other parent needs childcare when he or she has the children. This would not only allow the other parent to have more time with the children, but may also reinforce the belief that each of you is a good parent, which goes a long way towards creating goodwill between you.
- Agree to attend school or extracurricular events as a family. These are often momentous occasions in your children's lives, and not only do they want both parents there, but also neither of you would want to miss them.
- Devise a way to resolve conflicts and set personal boundaries, and then include them in your parenting plan. These rules regarding your interactions could make things amicable for everyone.
You may want your children to believe that their parents have a good and friendly relationship. That may not be easy to do at first, but creating a parenting plan that provides you a road map of how to get there may help. You don't have to be friends, but the more each of you can do to relieve tension and avoid confrontations, the better off your family will be. Over time, you may wake up one day and realize that you are on friendly terms with your former spouse.