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Parenting plans: Prioritize the children's needs

When parents divorce, it can be extremely difficult on the children. Parents have to be ready to help the kids through the changes that are coming. This isn't going to be an easy transition but there are many things that you can do if you and your children are walking this journey together.

You have to be aware of and attuned to how your children are adjusting so that you can determine how to help them. There are some basic ways to make this happen.

Set a solid parenting plan

Your parenting plan is the roadmap for your parenting relationship with your ex. You have to think carefully about what needs to be included. Make sure you cover the basics, including the parenting schedule and decision-making powers. You may also want to think about putting in terms about mutual behavior between parents, such as always remaining respectful and never belittling the other parent when speaking to others or talking directly to each other.

Let the kids know they have your support

Your children need to know they have a support system. It might help if you can sit down with your ex to talk to the children about the major changes that are coming. This may show them that they can still count on both of their parents. When you are alone with the kids, take the time to have meaningful conversations about how they are feeling and help them work through their evolving emotions. Also, both adults should make an effort to attend functions that are important to the children, including school plays and similar events.

Create new traditions

The traditions that you start can be sources of great memories. You may need to look past mainstream traditions and think about things like having a hot chocolate date one night a week or having a movie night to make the transition from one home to the other a bit more relaxed. Think about things that you can enjoy with your children to determine what will work.

Communicate directly with your ex

Speak directly to your ex when there are things that need to be addressed. Never try to use your children as messengers. The children might feel pressure regarding this situation so avoiding it is the best course of action. If you can't use verbal communication, you can opt for using a documented form like emails or special messenger services that keep a record of what is being said.

If you are embarking on the journey toward creating your child custody agreement, think strategically about what's best for your children. You have to put yourself and your ex aside and prioritize your kids' needs.

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