When parents split up and the kids end up bouncing between two households, it can create a lot of friction and stress for both families. Trying to keep up some kind of a routine and maintain consistency can be tough when you’re back and forth between two different homes and two different families. So we’d like to share a few tips for parents who are co-parenting their kids, and trying to find ways to provide stability and predictability for their children (and themselves) while honoring their shared parenting time plan here in Michigan.
Children need structure, predictability, and consistency
Regardless of how adults may feel about it, kids feel safe when there’s structure and routines in place they can count on. So one of the best things you and the other parent can do is work together to make your children’s transition from one household to another as smooth as possible. For example, if you’re able to, discuss basic routines, like weeknight bedtimes and curfews, with your ex, and see if there are some routines you can agree on. The more predictability you can create in your children’s daily routines, the better off you’ll all be in the long run.Child psychologists, family law attorneys and most judges strive for consistency between both homes.
Areas where co-parents can work together on to achieve routines
Obviously, there will be differences between your two households. Consistency doesn’t mean identical homes! Despite even the best parent’s efforts, there are going to be things that simply have to change, based on work schedules, lifestyles, and personal beliefs. But there are certain areas where co-parents can try to find common ground for the sake of their children. For example:
- Bedtime routines: Keeping the same bedtime, and pre-sleep routines in both homes can help the transition between households to be smoother. Kids will appreciate knowing what’s going to happen as the day winds down, and what’s expected of them, especially if it doesn’t change from place to place.
- Homework rules: Having the same rules in both homes about how and when and where homework needs to be done can be really helpful, both for the kids and for the parents. If a kid knows they have to do their homework before screen time, for example, they’re less likely to be able to play one parent against the other and get away with skipping school work.
- Language use: Habits, once they’re formed, can be quite hard to break. So kids who are allowed to cuss in one parent’s home may have difficulty refraining in the other parent’s home, especially when angry. Keeping the language use rules the same between households can make it easier for kids to know what is appropriate and what isn’t across the board, and keep bad habits to a minimum.
Not all exes are amenable to working on finding common ground
The idea of you and your ex working together for the good of your children might sound like a wonderful one, but we understand it’s not possible in every case. Some people simply can’t put themselves or their grievances aside, even if it’s in the best interests of their children. If this sounds like your ex, you’ll just have to do what you believe is best for your kids while they’re with you, and hope for the best when they’re not. If nothing else, your kids will receive consistency while they’re with you, and that’s the very best you can do. We find both cooperative parents and also uncooperative parents throughout Lansing, Eaton County, Ingham County and Clinton County. They’re all over Michigan.
Custody can be a complex issue, and you’ll need help from the best
Custody, and even parenting time, are both very complex (and sometimes very frustrating) issues. There can be endless options for what works and what doesn’t. However, when you break it down, the basic formula is the same everywhere – your kids are the most important part of this, so whatever you can do to make the situation easier on them is usually best. As skilled family law attorneys, we’ll help you figure out what that looks like, and strive to help you achieve it. Consistently, our attorneys achieve excellent results for our clients in courts throughout mid Michigan.
Call The Kronzek Firm for help with custody and parenting time concerns
As top family law attorneys who’ve helped hundreds of mid-MIchigan people through their divorces and custody problems, we often advocate for working with your ex. However, we also recognize that there are many situations when this just isn’t possible. If your ex is being unreasonable to the point of being abusive, either to you or to your children, or does things that put your children’s health and wellbeing in jeopardy, contact us immediately at 517 886-1000. We can help you resolve that situation with your children’s best interests as a priority.