Co-parenting can be difficult. But realize that Mother's Day and Father's Day have special importance if you are divorced, separated or have ended a relationship during which you had one or more children. Yes, it's a day to have your children with you to celebrate.
To some, parenting includes contributing to a child's college expenses. College costs and the related debt can be huge today. As a family law practitioner and mediator, I see too many people in their mid-fifties or older getting divorced and having to pay significant college loans that they signed for their children. The total amount of the loans often exceeds $100,000. It's like having a second mortgage to be paid when you may want, or need, to retire.
Managing summer planning for children after a divorce can be difficult. Whether you are paying or receiving child support, allocating money for summertime pleasures may be hard. First, you need to plan in advance to determine the days and/or weeks that you will have a child/children with you. Then you need to plan for those days and weeks.
Parents, married, divorced or never married, are challenged by how their children use or abuse social media. You may set down certain rules, but kids adopt rules of their own as well. Often these rules are set by their peers and you will never know them unless you discuss them with your child.
When discussing parenting plans with divorcing parties, I often wonder what is the motivation behind their wants and the posturing that goes on. Some parties want the kids the majority of the time to satisfy their ego that he/she is the better parent. Some want to restrict the other's time with the children as punishment. Some want equal time to reduce child support. And yes, some want equal time with the children for both parents as they perceive that the children are entitled to have both parents as very interested parties in their lives. They go into the negotiations considering what is best for their children.
Bringing up children is a challenge whether you are doing it with alone, with a loving partner or co-parenting after a separation/divorce. Teaching, motivating and working with your child takes energy, wisdom and creativity.
Unmarried couples with child custody issues are growing in numbers. A recent Pew Research Center survey shows that Millenials (ages 18 - 33) "lead all generations in the share of out-of wedlock births". In 2012, 47% of births to women in the Millenial generation were non-marital compared to 21 % among older women. Many parents do not remain together after the birth of a child, whether the split occurs months or years later.
I just read an interesting comment about a 30 year old woman who was about to become a stepmom to a 7, 13 and 16 year old children. She said that it is not important where kids put their napkins. Although the new stepmom might believe that the napkin belongs on a child's lap, making that an issue is not important. She viewed the children's experience as important in her new parenting role.