While all children look forward to the relaxation that summer brings, kids whose parents are no longer together must deal with the complication of having two parents who sometimes seem unable to make arrangements.
Tasks that require simple planning, such as preparing for camp or accommodating last-minute plans can sometimes leave kids exposed to conflict and division. The result: summer days that should be happy and carefree are stressful instead because parents find it difficult to put kids first.
Summer parenting schedules are usually different from those in place during the school year. Time with one parent may be extended because he or she lives far away. Special travel plans may call for a unique schedule to be created. But even the most exciting plans can be ruined if constant bickering gets in the way.
With the right attitude and planning, you can make sure your kids go back to school with warm summer memories that include both parents. Julie Gowthorpe, author of “Tainted Love: Why Your Ex is Making You Miserable and What You Can Do About It,” shares these strategies for divorced or separated parents.
1. Avoid parental power struggles.
Summer is a time for kids to get outside, play with friends and explore new interests. It’s NOT the time for parents to “flex their muscles” over who gets to make what decision. If Mom registers the child for camp and it’s a camp that the child will enjoy, accept it. If Dad plans Wednesday night baseball games that the child will enjoy, accept it. Parents should remember that kids should be encouraged to have fun with both parents. If one parent has the opportunity to expose a child to a new or fun event, this should be encouraged.
2. Respect your child’s interests.