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A Parenting Plan Guide to Thrive Through Divorce

Making decisions about where your children will live is undoubtably one of the most difficult, painstaking things that you will have to negotiate and agree upon when transitioning through divorce. If you're a stay-at-home mom, you have spent all your time with your children, a good chunk of your time with your children.

You've watched all their first little steps. You've played all the games, taken them to school, depending how old they are. Up to this stage, your biggest most important focus has been your children. And to think about sharing that time with their other parent and not knowing what they'll be doing some of the time, not being there to watch them play their games or events, to attend to their needs, to take care of them.

This this can be a very somber time. This can also be even more difficult if you're a working parent. You see your kids after work every day. You have your schedule, your family has its routine. You're seeing them. And the thing is, through divorce, there's going to be days and times when you don't see your kids, when you're not a part of their life, and when you don't know what they're doing.

The communication isn't there. All the little conversations that you're used to having and that you take for granted. Things have changed for me. I was a stay-at-home mom. My boys were ages two, four, six and eight. When I realized that divorce was the best option for myself and for our family, one of the most difficult and heart wrenching things for me was giving up some of my time with my boys.

It took me a very long time to wrap my head around that. Lots of money was spent on lawyers, lots of questions, crying, sadness. I read a lot of books and I bumbled through it. And somehow, I managed to realize that my time with the boys was as important as their dad's time with them was. I had to ask myself this important question, “Is the relationship that the boys have with me equally important as the relationship that they have with their dad?” Of course, the answer to that is yes, and that realization has become the determining factor in all of my co-parenting decisions going forward.

But that took me a while to figure out. It took lots of sadness and disappointment before I came to that realization.

I wish I could have reached out to someone like myself now, to chat with about these feelings and to think this through with. I probably could have got to this place a lot quicker and felt the way I feel now a lot sooner. I think what you need to do is be prepared to set your emotions to the side and look at things objectively.

When parents split up, it's crucial to recognize the significance of both parents in a child's life. Each parent brings something special to the table, like love, stability, and guidance. Having both involved helps kids feel supported, boosts their confidence, and shapes their growth. It sets them up for a bright future and healthier relationships.

Understand the importance of the relationship that your boys and your girls, your children have with both mom and dad and look at it from their perspective. You know, things are changing, but visitation with dad, that doesn't even make sense. That is a terrible choice of words and a poor way to look at the coming years of transition and change. In 95% of divorces, disputes can be handled outside of the court and are somewhat amicable. They can certainly be contentious, don’t get me wrong. Keep the focus of all your decisions on the simple fact that dad and mom are both still equally important in your child's life.

So, no parent should visit their children. Parents should be with their children, create relationships with their children, love their children. And then as kids grow up, they have a relationship with mom and a relationship with dad. You've allowed that to happen naturally over time and life is good. I know that if you're able to set your emotions aside, keep your focus on your children and what is best for them.

Put yourself in their shoes. Think about what they would like in their life. You can come to a parenting plan agreement with your partner in a fairly reasonable manner. What is equally important to remember is to be flexible. The parenting plan? Write it out for a year. But be prepared that it can change depending on events in both your lives, but also depending on the children’s wishes. You can be flexible. If Dad wants to spend time on a Saturday afternoon with one of the children and it's your time, why not say yes?

Let Dad have some one-on-one time with one of the kids. Maybe he'll do the same for you. Maybe he won't. It doesn't matter, because what's best for your children should be your main focus. What does your child want? If you can keep your eye on that ball, you're a lot further ahead than I was when I first started. I hope to inspire you to be the best parent that you can be.

And until next time here's to youfirst!



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