A custody order is often a basic document that discusses a few specific terms regarding both parental authority and the division of time between parental households. Parents then have to make arrangements to fill in the gaps as they learn how to parent cooperatively.
Parents will have an easier time working together when they have already reached mutual understanding about certain key parenting concerns. There are three particular parenting matters that often warrant discussion – and possible inclusion in a parenting plan – to minimize conflict between the parents in the future.
Screen time and telecommunications
Technology use is a parenting hot topic. Some adults feel very strongly about keeping their kids off the internet and minimizing their screen time, while others see nothing wrong with giving a preschooler a tablet to entertain themselves. Parents may have an easier time enforcing rules about technology if they are consistent between the two households. From how much time the children should have on devices to when they get to have their own phones, there are many technology-adjacent issues that parents can proactively address rather than waiting for them to inevitably cause an argument.
Academic performance and extracurricular activities
Parents have to decide what sports their children can participate in and whether they can balance a part-time job with high school classes. Parents may also have to limit socialization or otherwise alter household rules if a young adult’s academic performance drops too significantly. Having clear standards in place either for each child or for the household in general will help parents more effectively enforce those standards and present a united front when the children try to push back.
Do the parents use timeouts or restrict access to devices? Would they ever send a child to bed without dinner over a behavioral issue? Having the same standards for discipline is very important, as disagreements about discipline can easily spiral out of control in a co-parenting relationship. Parents often need a combination of rules that will apply to their children at their current age and also discipline standards for teenagers, which is an age when young adults are notorious for pushing parental buttons.
Those who plan for the challenges that will likely complicate their co-parenting relationships will likely have an easier time preserving the peace and co-parenting effectively.