Sharing custody with your ex doesn’t have to be a nightmare. If you both approach it with a healthy attitude and have appropriate structures in place, sharing parental responsibilities after the end of your marriage can be simple. Parents all too often focus on issues like vacations and holidays when setting their parenting plans.
They are less likely to outline some of the more important parental decisions, like household rules and expectations for school. That can lead to discrepancies in discipline and parenting later on. It is best if you and your ex take whatever steps are necessary to get on the same page about parenting.
Regardless of how old your children are, you will likely need to talk about a number of issues, ranging from grades and behavior to entertainment. Screen time is a common source of disputes between divorced parents. That means it can be a big source of problems between divorced parents who haven’t set any rules in writing.
Too much screen time can affect development and grades
While it may be true that cellphones, laptops and video games are culturally ubiquitous, that doesn’t mean that children with developing brains need unfettered access to entertainment on screens. Instead, parents should be aware of what media their children consume and how much time they spend viewing entertainment on screens every day.
The age of your child will largely dictate how much screen time is appropriate. However, the behaviors and proclivities of your child can also impact what level of screen time is appropriate. For example, if you have a child who is antisocial and withdrawn, allowing carte blanche screen time likely won’t do much to help. Instead, you should consider placing a limit on screen time and allowing the child to earn more time through socialization volunteer hours and other activities.
Including screen time rules in your parenting plan helps ensure that both parents will work together for the optimal development and mental health of their children as they grow older. If parents can’t agree on screen time, that can result in over-exposure at one or both houses, with potential consequences for the development of the child.
Parents currently experiencing post-divorce conflicts may need to modify their plan
Sometimes, in the rush to get a divorce finalized, couples skip over some of the most important considerations in their parenting plan. Thankfully, the terms of your parenting plan are not set in stone. You have the right to modify it informally or to have the courts modify it officially.
If you and your ex can agree to new terms, you may be able to ratify a new, informal parenting plan. Doing so can help keep you on the same page, which will make it easier for you to provide consistent expectations and discipline for your growing children.