Developing Parenting Plans
A parenting plan is a plan that is designed uniquely for your family as to when the children are to be under the care of the mother, father or other guardians. It should be developed by the people who love and care for their children and is based on a variety of factors.
Because of the nature of the negative feelings of the people going through the divorce or ending their relationship, it may be helpful to have a neutral person assisting in developing the plan. Below is a link to guidelines developed by a committee of judges and child development specialists. This could serve as a guideline. Parenting plans can be changed over time if situations change as well as different stages of development.
Parents have Responsibilities and Children have Rights
When going through separation and divorce many parents worry about their children and ask how they can help their children through this family change. An effective way to manage these concerns is to remember that “Parents have Responsibilities and Children have Rights”.
A Parenting Plan guides the parents to focus on the responsibilities of parenting rather than parental rights which provides the opportunity for all children to being well adjusted and loved by both parents at all times. The purpose of a Parenting Plan is to assist both parents in outlining ways to be good co-parents and how to meet the needs of the child. A Parenting Plan helps parents define their roles, responsibilities, and obligations towards their children and the other parent through a written agreement.
A Parenting Plan benefits a family in numerous ways. It can prevent the children from being exposed to harmful parental conflicts. It reduces the chances of children being torn apart by divided loyalties that are generally fostered by disagreeing parents. It ensures and fulfills the child’s right to maintaining a close and stable relationship with both parents. It provides the children with consistency, stability, and routines.
The Parenting Plan improves communication skills through difficult times and change. A Parenting Plan focuses on key areas that include daily schedules, primary residence and extracurricular. This plan considers both short and long term education, religion, health, and economic needs. Another focus is the quality time with both parents such as vacation, holidays, and birthdays. An important component of a parenting plan focuses on establishing communication techniques and conflict resolution tools. One way to develop a parenting plan is to access the services of a mediator or counsellor. This professional will offer a comfortable and neutral setting that will help to alleviate the tension and stress which is a common part of the divorce process.
Developing a Parenting Plan will help decrease the overall expenses such as money, time, and energy. The mediator or counsellor will keep things focused, give voice to both sides, guide you through dispute resolution, and ensure that parents create their own customized and unique plan that meets everyone’s needs. A key thing to remember is successful businesses have a business plan and successful parents have a parenting plan. Co-authored by Sue Cook and Tammy Lalonde