Parenting involves countless joint decisions made in an effort to help a child thrive. After the parents of a child go through a separation, these decisions can become fraught and tangled up in other disagreements. The extra-curricular activities a child engage in provide plenty of opportunities for disagreement, often causing further resentment and even alienation with the child.
Knowing some of these possible disagreement points, and how to cut down on arguments is beneficial for all, especially the child.
Activities are a Flashpoint for Arguments
Even happily married couples find themselves disagreeing over their child’s activities. One parent may want to see their child excel at sports, while the other may prefer the child focus more on academics. With this in mind, how should separated parents approach this thorny issue? It’s vital to first decide whether the activity is something the child enjoys, or if it’s something they are being pushed into.
Expense can also be a factor. Activities for children can cost a lot of money. Imagine the cost of a year’s worth of regular sports activities, piano lessons, or dance lessons. A parent should not sign a child up for a costly activity without first talking to the other parent. After all, receiving a bill for something you don’t want the child involved in isn’t a great starting point for collaboration.
Addressing Issues in the Parenting Plan
When creating a parenting plan, here are some areas to focus on to help minimize potential for disagreements about the child’s activities.
Number of Activities – Both parents will likely have their thoughts on what activities are best for the child. Discuss this issue and put it in writing within the parenting plan. If the child is already engaged in activities they enjoy, it’s encouraged to let them continue. Any new activities should be discussed together in a collaborative manner.
How to Split Costs – Activities for children typically don’t come for free. It’s unfair to expect a parent to shoulder a burden they can’t afford. Discuss how these costs will be split in advance. This presents an opportunity for both parents to raise any concerns they might have.
Transport – Someone must take responsibility for transporting the child to and from their activities. Put a plan in place to split this task and ensure the burden doesn’t unfairly fall on one parent.
Mechanism for Solving Disputes – Even with the best laid plans, it’s likely there will be a disagreement along the way. Discuss how these disputes can be solved in a fair manner without resentment.
Here to Help
If you have any questions, or require any assistance creating a parenting plan that addresses these issues, get in touch with us today. Our qualified team of family lawyers are ready to help you.