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Getting your parenting plans together before school's out

Whether you and your ex get along well, or you struggle to make your parenting schedule work, summer may be the real test of your commitment to put your children first. When school is out, all the hard work to maintain a healthy, predictable routine may go right out the window. Not only is your daily pattern disrupted, but you may be facing scheduling conflicts if you and your ex both have plans for vacations with the kids.

You may have your personal reasons for wanting to dig in and get your own way when it comes to summer plans, but child advocates remind parents that custody matters are not the appropriate venue for power struggles or egos. In fact, you and your ex still have time to plan a summer break that will be memorable for the kids and perhaps reinforce your relationships with them and each other.

Working it out together

Communication is the key to getting through the challenges of summer break. If you and your ex can suspend any bitterness or anger, and focus on providing structure and stability during the summer months, you may find that everyone benefits. You and your ex should set aside time to get on the same page, listing and arranging items like camp schedules, swimming parties, sports and vacation trips.

It is also important to remember that summer is the time for flexibility and fun, and you can enhance that feeling by appreciating and encouraging your ex's efforts at providing playful opportunities for the kids instead of feeling like you are competing to be the most fun parent.

What do your kids think?

If your children are old enough, it may be appropriate to get their feedback on summer plans. They may have definite ideas for how they would like to spend their vacation days, and it may not involve the plans you make. A child who looks forward to certain activities each summer should not have to give those up because of the divorce. You and your ex may be able to find a way to keep things as consistent as possible for the kids.

Above all, family advocates say parents should not think their children do not notice the stress parents may create when their plans do not go smoothly. If your child feels that you and your ex are in conflict over vacation plans, the child may take the matters personally. If plans for summer custody or other parenting issues raise serious concerns, you may wish to reach out to a Texas attorney for guidance in the most appropriate ways to settle the matter.

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