Parenting Commitments, Not Just Between Parent and Child

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Child Custody on Friday, January 7, 2011

One St. Louis, Missouri writer brought up a new year’s resolution for parents and children, to make parenting commitments. The commitments are between husband and wife, and they help the parents stay on the “same page” even as schedules get busier and busier. Parenting commitments do not have to be between husband and wife. They are actually even more suitable for parents who live apart and share custody of their children.

Parenting commitments can become a very useful tool for separated moms and dads who can work together to co-parent their children. Although the agreement is not a part of a court ordered child custody arrangement, writing down shared goals and values can help maintain consistent parenting for the children as they travel back and forth between households.

The first step to creating a parenting commitment is to set clear priorities about curfews, homework, friends and extracurricular events. Write in the weekly or monthly schedules for the children. Not only will the child be aware of what their boundaries are, but also each parent will know how to handle requests without having to call the other.

The second step is to define how discipline will be handled and what some of the predictable situations may be. The commitment can even set out certain consequences for certain behaviors.

Lastly, be sure to maintain open lines of communication between one parent and the other as well as between the child and the parenting team. Make sure to revisit the plan once it has been in place for a while.

A co-parenting commitment can help create the stability the child needs and avoid the situation that arises when one parent says “no,” but later finds out that their son or daughter simply went to the other adult. A shared commitment can avoid the confusion.

Source: St. Louis Today “FAMILY MATTERS: Begin new year by renewing parenting commitments” Dennis O’Brien 12/28/10

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