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Two issues to consider for parenting plans


If you are going through a divorce and decide to co-parent your children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, chances are the two of you will develop a parenting plan at some point. Such a plan covers basics such as physical and legal custody and child support, but some plans neglect or do not fully address a few areas.

It is better to be safe rather than sorry. If you think an issue will never arise because the two of you apparently have the same philosophies, address it anyway. Life has a tendency to sneak up on people and deliver surprises.

Discipline tactics

Children thrive on routine and consistency. Thus, it can be jarring for them to be disciplined one way at Parent A’s house and another way at Parent B’s house. If the two of you can be on the same page on discipline and, even better, get your philosophy in writing in the parenting plan, great.

This type of discussion may also help one (or both) of you adjust your ideas on discipline so they match the children better. For example, maybe one child responds badly to timeouts and better to redos and talking through why his or her actions were wrong. Another child, meanwhile, may do better with timeouts.

Internet usage

The pull of platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter can be strong for children of all ages. One parent may be okay with such use, perhaps even giving children iPhones or iPads. Meanwhile, the other parent may forbid such social media platforms. However, it is the children who may become more exhausted than their parents by having to shift their behaviors to meet different parents’ demands.

It helps to streamline co-parenting if the parenting plan lays out general guidelines as to what types of internet usage are okay. Even a statement such as, “Each parent can set his or her own rules on internet utilization,” can reduce conflict and ambiguity later.

There are many other issues to keep in mind (curfews, piercings and phone access, to name a few). However, internet use and discipline methods are two good ways to get parents thinking collaboratively.

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