Co-parenting is often a challenge, especially in the early days after the end of your relationship. Frequent conflicts and intense emotions are common when couples have just recently gone from having an intimate relationship to a co-parenting partnership.
The parenting plan you draft helps the two of you manage your relationship with one another and your responsibilities to your children. Parenting plans can help divide time with the children and decision-making authority. They can also provide guidance for individual parenting decisions.
Addressing certain major household rules in your parenting plan could help you minimize conflict later.
What are your school expectations?
What will happen if your child has a disciplinary issue? What kind of grades should they get? At what age are you okay with them joining school sports or other extracurricular activities?
The basic expectations for your children’s academic performance are an important topic of discussion. When you have taken the time to agree, it will be easier for you to push your children to meet those goals.
What are the rules for technology and the internet?
Do you believe your children should be at least 14 before they sign up for social media? Do you limit how long they can be on screens or insist that they only watch movies or play games with specific age ratings?
If you don’t take the time to address these issues now, they can turn into a source of conflict later and lead to the children playing the parents against each other for their own benefit.
What kinds of contributions should the children make?
Obviously, your kids will prefer spending time with a parent who doesn’t require that they do the dishes or walk the dog as opposed to the one who insists that they contribute to the household.
Establishing age-appropriate chore expectations for your children and maintaining them across both households will help your children develop the crucial skills of self-sufficiency while preventing conflicts that could arise due to one parent letting the children avoid all responsibilities.
When you take the time to address family concerns that can contribute to disputes later, you set yourself up for a smoother and more positive co-parenting relationship. Having the right attitude when preparing for shared custody negotiations can minimize the conflict your family must endure.