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Back to School! Four Top Tips for Successful Co-parenting

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From kindergarten to high school, children across the country are heading back to school.  Along with new clothes and school supplies, children need parents with a shared commitment to help them reach their potential throughout the school year.  Take a moment to consider the ways you can make life easier for your child through positive co-parenting.

Along with school days, childhood quickly slips by.  Research clearly reflects that children who grow up in conflicted settings do not fare as well in learning environments.  Conflict shapes how a child thinks about themselves and the world.  We all know conflict between parents—married or not—is a big indicator for how well a child will launch into life.

With that in mind, give thought to the ways that you can ease the stress on your child at whatever stage in the divorce process you might be—before, during, or after.

Setting the stage for a successful school year

Your children watch you all the time.  You and your co-parent are the most important role models your children will ever have.  Get the school year off right by doing your best to show your child is supported by loving family, in whatever form that takes.  Consider these tips:

  1. Share information: Be sure your schools have complete contact information for both parents, and share your parenting plan with your child’s teachers.  With one out of every two marriages currently ending in divorce, school administrators and staff are familiar with children who may come to school with one parent, and go home with another.  The more familiar and friendly you can make transitions for your child, the less likely it is your child will feel out of place for living in two households.  By talking with teachers, staff, and bus drivers, you and your co-parent can provide a solid foundation to keep your child safe and happy in the school environment.
  2. The little things: Pencils, pens, band instruments, sports equipment, and the resources needed for school activities should not be a point of conflict for your child.  Try to work with your co-parent to quietly share expenses and the time spent shopping for school shoes and supplies.  At no time should either parent try to show up the other by out-buying needed and not-needed items.  If one parent is out to better the other, the subtle and not-so-subtle jockeying for position using money or influence could shape how your child behaves in future relationships.
  3. Share schedules: If your parenting time plan calls for a lot of interaction, pick-ups, and drop-offs, use technology to communicate and share calendars.  Whether it is Google calendar or any app that parents can agree on, co-parents who collaborate effectively on the details of life allow their child to focus on their childhood—not the personality problems of their parents.
  4. Stay involved: Go to parent-teacher conferences, stay involved with homework, and cooperate with your co-parent to keep consistent rules and bedtimes across households for your child.  Invite both families to school events and share photographs and moments through social media to keep a wide circle of support for your child.

Working cooperatively with an ex- can be tremendously difficult.  In some cases, these suggestions will be impossible given the level of conflict that one parent can bring to the table.  All you can do is your best, and when your child graduates, they will thank you for it.

Speak with a highly-qualified divorce attorney serving Baltimore County today

The Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC offer dedicated legal service and strong legal representation on matters of divorce, child support and custody, and other family law issues.  When you are thinking about divorce, or need an accurate answer about a custody issue, contact us or call 410-602-9522.