Tips for Being a Successful Part-Time Parent

Family arguing

A divorce is a challenging event for the whole family. A breakup can turn a child’s world upside down and leave them feeling all sorts of painful and unsettling emotions. It can be difficult to provide your kids with the predictability and stability they need when you’re on an emotional roller-coaster of your own, but it is important to help your kids to emerge feeling loved, strong, and confident. It’s up to both parents to provide security and support during these tough times.

Upon divorce or separation, legal and physical custody is determined based on the best interests of the child. More often than not, parents retain joint legal custody, meaning they have are equally involved in the decision-making processes that must occur throughout the child’s life, including schooling, medical care, and religion.

However, joint physical custody is not as common. Most parenting plans arrange for the children to live primarily with one parent.  The non-primary custodial parent, who is used to being involved of their child’s daily life, often feels left out. Many complain that they don’t get to spend enough time with their children and that the other parent isn’t sharing information about what is going on in their lives. To stay engaged and remain an active parent in your child’s life, follow these tips:

  1. Keep in touch with your children.

Today’s technology provides an endless way to keep in contact, no matter the distance or time apart. When you’re not with your children, call, e-mail, text, or video chat with them on a regular basis. Even it’s just a simple “hello,” it shows your child that you are thinking of them. Even if your older kids act like they don’t care, it secretly makes them happy to know that care about them.

  1. Share your contact information.

Provide your child’s doctors, coaches, friend’s parents, and other extracurricular leaders with your contact information to keep you in the loop.

  1. Create a shared schedule.

Create a calendar via Google or any application that allows both parents to post events. Add doctor’s appointments, birthday parties, playdates, school vacations, sports practices and games, and other important dates. As your child gets older, they can add them directly to the calendar.

  1. Get involved with your children’s activities.

Attend games, recitals, performances, field trips, school functions, and other events, even if it isn’t your scheduled time. This demonstrates your commitment and support for your children.

  1. Stay in touch with your children’s teachers and guidance counselors.

Ask to be copied on report cards, progress reports, parent-teacher conferences, and any other correspondence from the school. Arrange to be at meetings, even if the other parent will be there. You will receive information first hand and won’t have to rely on the other parent to relay the information.

At the Law Office of Smith & Horwitz, our Philadelphia joint custody lawyers have extensive experience creating joint custody, or shared custody, arrangements for parents throughout the area. Call us today for a free phone consultation to learn how we can put our experience to work for you. (215) 515-8464.

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