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Use your parenting plan to change your focus

38661705_S.jpgThe irony of divorce is that while your marriage can be ended, if you have children, your relationship with your child's other parent may continue for many years. Consider, if you have a two-year-old, your child custody and visitation order is likely to be in force for the next 16 years. That's four presidential elections.

That relationship will have a significant effect on your relationship with your child. If you insist on bringing the bitterness and contentiousness that was probably a part of your failed marriage, you need to think of the effect it will have on your child.

This is especially true if you have proposed a parenting plan with nearly equal shared time between each parent. If you plan to have the child alternate every other week with each parent that means you will have, at a minimum, 52 handoffs every year. If you opt for a more intense sharing, with the child moving between parents every three days or so, you could experience a hundred or more exchanges.

You will need to develop a set of rules and behavioral patterns that both can follow. Your child will be observing you and your former spouse very closely during an exchange or other time when the both of your are together, such as at school functions or sports.

You child will be hurt if every time the two of you meet unpleasantness occurs. They may even begin to feel they are at fault, which could be damaging to their development. By focusing on your child, you can move the discussion away from your past and your former spouse's behavior to your child's future and what you both need to do to achieve the goal be being good parents.

 

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Marriages Dissolve, But Parenting Partnerships Are 'to Death Do Us Part' -- What Type of Parenting Partners Are You?" Dr. Jamie Williamson, June 1, 2016

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