Communication Is the Key to a Stress-Free Summer
Summertime can be a time of leisure and relaxation for families, but so often children of divorced or separated parents can be caught in the middle of conflicts concerning summer vacation arrangements.
A major factor in ensuring you and your children have a less stressed summer is having open and clear communication with your former spouse. It’s key to start communicating about your summer plans early (ideally, as soon as you become aware of them) and to communicate your proposed ideas for your kids’ summer to minimize confusion and conflict. Keeping open and clear communication with your former spouse can significantly reduce the stress brought on by a new schedule for the summer and create the best environment for your child to thrive.
Creating a Timeshare Schedule That Works
Many of my clients who have shared custody of their children follow a 2-2-5-5 or 3-4-4-3 weekly timeshare schedule with the other parent, but that can obviously create a lot of headaches when trying to schedule your kids for things like summer camp or other activities. Frequently, in cases where the parents share custody, but are unable to agree on which camps the children should attempt, I will often suggest that they try to shift their normal weekly schedules to a “week-on, week-off” for the 10-12 weeks of summer vacation. That way, each parent can enroll the children in a summer camp or his or her choosing during his or her weeks with the kids.
There are a lot of ways to alleviate the stress of summer scheduling, but a paramount consideration for co-parenting is to realize that there needs to be a give and take of time and you should be prepared to make necessary changes to your desired schedule.
Summer Scheduling Advice for Co-Parents
Two final points: (1) In any case where a child has divorced or separated parents, it’s essential that the parents try, try, try to keep the child’s needs first and foremost and put his or her needs on the back burner. Parents should evaluate the child’s interests and passions when planning summer activities so that the child has the necessary outlets, such as art, horseback riding, or sports camps, to express themselves and explore their interests.
(2) Never use your frustrations with the other parent to frustrate you to the point where you speak negatively about the other parent in the presence of your child. When speaking about the child’s summer plans with the other parent, refrain from using a resentful or negative tone and reserve those feelings for a conversation with a friend or therapist. Summer should be a time for your child to strengthen relationships with both of his or her parents. The added free time of summer may also be the perfect opportunity for both parents and children to start family mediation or therapy to promote further positive communication.
Summer can be a great time to improve parent-child relationships so let that be your driving force in making the summer the best possible time your child. Focusing on your child and encouraging favorable communication with your former spouse will benefit the entire family and you will see the positivity pay off into the school year.
Divorce, Custody & Family Law in Maryland
With offices in Silver Spring and Rockville, MD, Andalman & Flynn offers legal representation to divorce clients in Montgomery County as well as in Prince George’s and Howard counties. We know how complex and sensitive matters involving divorce and children can be, and we want to make sure your children’s best interests are well taken care of as they begin a new way of life.
We can assist you in resolving your divorce and resulting legal matters in court or through alternative means of resolution. Contact us today.
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