Medical professionals have shared the benefits of co-parenting, noting it can reduce children’s stress and provide a sense of stability during a difficult time in their lives. These same professionals note that co-parenting is most successful when the parents focus on positive communication techniques. This approach reduces the likelihood that children are exposed to parental conflict. This is important because exposure to parental conflict is tied to an increased risk of psychological and behavioral issues in children after divorce.
Those who choose to co-parent will face hurdles and few are as challenging as the start of a new school year. With a new school year, come new extracurricular activities and changes to schedules. Parents will need to review the opportunities for their children with the scheduling demands and determine what works best for their family unit. These activities are not what they once were. Orchestras, choirs, soccer clubs, hockey teams, theater groups, debate clubs, robotics, basketball, football, and other opportunities can include extensive travel and time commitments. Each family unit will need to balance the opportunities and child’s interest level with their ability to commit to the expectations of the group before moving forward.
It is also important to keep in mind that parents generally want to encourage their children to pursue their interests. This can make these types of conversations especially difficult to navigate as these desires can lead to high emotions during the conversation. Co-parents can increase the odds of a positive transition with the following tips:
- Remember the importance of positive communication. As noted above, the key to success is positive communication. Keep the information flowing between both parents to help better ensure everyone is aware of the schedules and available extracurricular opportunities for the children.
- Consider tech. There are various apps that can help to keep track of our schedules. Online calendars are a great option and can allow parents to update changes to rehearsals and practice locations in real time.
- Take a breath. Acknowledge that every family struggles to balance it all — you are not alone.
These tips can help to guide the conversation. Legal guidance can also help if the issue escalates.