Being Consistent:It is crucial that parents are regular and consistent about time sharing. Children need to know that they will be made available for time sharing and picked up and returned at scheduled times. If an emergency arises that requires a change in time sharing or if parenting time will not be exercised, each parent has the responsibility of notifying the other parent as far in advance as possible. The children should be supplied with adequate clothing for the parenting time, and the clothing is to be returned at the end of the parenting time. If the children are on medication, the medication, the dosage, and the times the medication is to be taken should be made available to the parent. Any information which pertains to the welfare of the children should be shared by parents.
Going Between Households:Children may complain, become withdrawn, or act out when it is time to go between the parents' homes. A parent may believe that something negative is happening in the other parent's home because of the children's behavior. This behavior is usually normal and not necessarily an indication that anything is wrong. Children may be involved in an activity that they don't want to interrupt. Children miss the parent they are not with and go through an adjustment when getting ready to leave each parent's home.
Rebuilding Trust:It is essential that divorced parents make efforts to rebuild trust between themselves. Having a degree of trust helps reduce conflicts. One way to rebuild trust is to honor agreements made between parents. Broken agreements result in anger, disappointment, resentment, and retaliation. Parents should tell each other the truth. If plans need to be changed or something of concern happens during the time the children are with a parent, the situation should be discussed calmly with the other parent. A parent should check out children's stories with the other parent and recognize that children are not always accurate in their portrayal of events.
Sharing and Participating In Activities:Because of the newness of the divorce and the changes in roles, it is helpful to outline a list of specific activities for the parenting time. Choose activities that are appropriate to children's ages and interests. Reading books together, picnics, walks, biking, cooking, games, and trips to parks, the zoo, museums, and the library are some activities. Parents may have skills to pass along to their children. Working on the car, computer, or sewing assists children to grow in skills and independence and share in an activity that the parent enjoys. A parent's role does not necessarily begin and end with scheduled parenting time. The parent also may participate in parent/teacher conferences, attend school functions, help children with homework, or assist in taking the children to medical appointments and their social or sports activities.
Participating and sharing in activities allows parents to remain involved with their children. However, both parents need to establish "normal" routines with chores, bedtimes, rules and standards for behavior, and regular meals to help children feel secure and stable.
Isabella County Trial Court
300 N. Main St.
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
Ph: (989) 317-4097
Fax: (989) 773-2419
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.