Since you started working full time away from home as soon as you finalized your divorce, you and your children have faced several scheduling challenges, as well as emotional ones, as you all adapt to your new lifestyle. With the start of summer, you realize it brings a whole host of new challenges, since the kids will be off school and they will need to have an adult with them. You also have to think transportation to and from swimming lessons, camp or whatever activities you may have planned.
It can be helpful to get some tips from other Tennessee parents who have already been where you are now. You may also want to read about ways to avoid major co-parenting problems on summer break. All families (divorced or not) risk having terrible summer vacations if they let stress factors get the best of them. You can apply general parenting tips to your post-divorce situation in many cases, which may help keep stress levels low and summertime fun.
Don’t let child issues become disputes between former spouses
Especially if you have pre-teens or teenagers in your family, the following issues usually lurk in the background of summer break and can snowball into major trouble if you’re not careful. It’s best if you and your co-parent discuss these issues ahead of time, so you aren’t caught in a parent-to-parent battle over child-behavior problems:
- When everyone is home together all the time, kids, especially teenagers and pre-teens, may get a little cranky with each other. Keeping crafts and other activities on hand helps keep them busy and less focused on their own moods.
- Going back and forth between houses can cause problems, especially if the food and rules are quite different in your home than your former spouse’s house.
- Many children are finicky when it comes to food, and some kids try to play one parent against the other in such situations.
- Laying some ground rules for summer can help avoid problems, especially concerning electronic devices, chores and other family issues.
- Again, avoid arguments if your kids keep bringing it to your attention that their other parent lets them do things you do not allow.
- You and your children can brainstorm ideas for short day trips or, perhaps, even a small vacation.
- If your plans conflict with court-ordered visitation schedules, you must first seek the court’s approval before deviating from the plan.
- Always keep your ex in the know when it comes to travel plans, and always make sure your kids have easy access to their other parent.
Divorcing doesn’t necessarily have to ruin your summer any more than living with hormonal teenagers might. A key to success lies in planning ahead, clear communication, and willingness to cooperate and compromise with your children and your former spouses.
If problems arise outside the normal scope of things
It’s one thing to disagree about kids’ bed times or where they should go to camp. It’s quite another to deal with an ex who refuses to adhere to a court order or tries to impede your relationship with your children. If you run into a problem you can’t solve, you can reach out for support from someone who knows how to navigate the family justice system.