Summer Plans

 

Working parents always face the decision of what to do with their school aged children during the summer break from school.   Do you place them in day care, camp, or send them to a relative’s home? It is even more complicated when the parents are divorced. As they age into the teen years, the schedule gets even more complicated with summer jobs, sports, and special interests.

So what is a parent to do? The first key step is communicate, communicate, communicate. A parenting schedule that worked for your 6 year old is not necessarily going to work for a 10, or 12 year old let alone a 16 year old. Have a meeting in the spring and work out the summer schedule.

Issues to discuss and resolve:

    • Family vacation times-schedule as far in advance as possible who will have which weeks so travel arrangements can be made when airline prices are lower.
    • Family reunions, weddings, graduations or other special events. Every family has these, try to accommodate them because your ex-spouses extended family is your child’s extended family.
    • Summer camp for the kids – who will pay and how will it impact residential time? Who will do pick up and drop off? Avoid the last minute stress and decide in advance.
    • Allow the kids to grow – if your child wants to play high school football or be in the marching band, there may be a need to be close to home in August. Honor your child’s desires to excel and be a part of something bigger.Having both parents on the same page will lower everyone’s stress and anxiety over summer plans. Most of all it will help your child have a happier, healthier summer.

The Ripple Effect of Divorce with Children

The Ripple Effect

By Gail B. Nunn

 

Divorce is very tough on the family, and there is a ripple effect. You move from a one house family to a two house family. Your children may acquire step-parents and step-siblings or half-siblings. But beyond their nuclear families, are their extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grand-parents. The divorce has a ripple effect on all those people and on the relationship your child has with those people.

Recently I was gratified when my ex-husband’s niece reached out to me as she planned to relocate from the mid-west to my home town area of Seattle. It brought to mind the questions about who makes up our extended “family”.   In her mind, I’m still her aunt even though the blood relative uncle has remarried, even though I haven’t seen her in 8 years, even though she lives 3,000 miles away from me.

When you get divorced you lose your spouse. You don’t have to lose his/her family too and your children do not have to lose those relationships. It “takes a village” is a well-known phrase, even cliché’ perhaps. However, the ties forged during the marriage do not have to be totally undone. How wonderful for your children if they can talk freely about their grandma and grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins no matter on which side of the family those folks happen to fall. How wonderful for you if you can rely on these folks for day care, babysitting, birthday party attendees, etc.

Those “ex” family member may miss you. You were their family. Now you are not? How does that work? You’re divorced so you never again talk to your mother-in-law or favorite sister-in-law? Using collaborative law process to get divorced can help heal your family beyond its borders to the extended family more quickly and keep everyone more connected.

A few summers ago, I traveled to visit my 94 year old former mother-in-law. She is a wonder feisty woman who was my mother-in-law for 21 years. She is the grandmother to my children and the great grandmother to my grandchildren. I delight in our continued relationship and am so grateful she decided to stay connected to me. My divorce was over 15 years ago, but my ex-husband’s family became my family and are still my “family”.   I’m took my daughter and two her great grandchildren, one of whom she has not yet met. Pretty exciting stuff.

 

 

 

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