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Struggling to Divide Kids' Time

Most parents struggle with child custody agreements and schedules, even years after their divorces. This process can become even more grueling if the parents have not maintained a positive relationship; that is, an adversarial divorce can lead to an equally adversarial co-parenting fight. Still, experts say it is important to realize that moms and dads both contribute to the growth and development of their children. Your cooperation can boost your kids' performance in school and other social environments.

Many co-parents are forced to negotiate for custody of the kids during school breaks in spring, winter and summer. Additional discussions must occur throughout the year concerning holidays, birthdays and other special occasions. This can become even more burdensome for parents who have remarried and have step-children; imagine having to coordinate schedules for two sets of children!

Still, couples are able to triumph over the difficulty that arises between co-parents in even the most dismal situations. They do this by maintaining a mature attitude. One woman describes her struggles with acknowledging that her husband also plays a role in their son's academic and social success: She was so focused on her contribution to her child's homework and school projects that she nearly ruined his parent-teacher conference. She was plotting about taking home several of the boy's projects for his baby book rather than listening to his teacher. These distractions nearly caused her to have even more animosity toward her ex.

The author tells us that her biggest revelation from that experience focused on her ex-husband's contribution to their son's success. Even though she prided herself on the homework assignments she helped with, she realized that her ex also assisted the boy in achieving a variety of successes. Further, the boy's genetic heritage gave him a propensity toward math that clearly came from her husband. Both parents bring important contributions to co-parenting; child custody negotiations should attempt to maximize this equality.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divvying up the days," Marcelle Soviero, April 4, 2013

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