Thursday, August 08, 2013

Tips for Successful "Back to School" CoParenting

In just a couple of weeks the kiddos will be heading back to school and of course, disputes may arise with regards to who pays (or should pay) for school-related expenses (clothes, school supplies, backpacks)  and who takes the child to his/her/their first day of school.  All of the aforementioned are usually fodder for coparents who are not getting along to hone in and become territorial about "their" time and who should pay for what especially if there are philosophical differences about child support and what "that" money should pay for.  Don't take the bait!  Successful coparenting involves give and take and making decisions based on what's best for your children and making that return to school exciting and fun.

Back to school is the perfect occasion for a fresh start.  If you've had a less than ideal coparenting relationship, make a change!  Talk to the other parent about assigning back to school tasks such as:

  •  Who pays for / shops for school supplies and backpacks 
  •  Who pays for / shops for school clothes 
  •  Who pays for school lunches
  •  Back to School Night at the child's school 
  •  Who takes / picks up children from school on that magical first day
Be creative.  Alternate the tasks each year so that the assignment of the big ticket items is fair.  Expecting mom to pay for school clothes every year is tough especially as the kids get older and become more "brand" sensitive.  If the other parent lost his/her job or had another child that year, step up and offer to help out with those expenses by trading years, etc.

If tempers flare, take a deep breath and remember this is supposed to be fun and exciting and a memorable experience for you as parents and especially for the children.  Be a successful coparent by presenting solutions v. problems, remaining flexible, encouraging the involvement of the other parent in all the "fun" stuff not just writing the check, and above all NOT taking the bait if the other parent tries to go off-topic.

Read the following articles for more "back to school" coparenting tips:

Our Family Wizard's Back to School Tips for Co-Parents

Huffington Post's Back to School: Learning to Share Is Not Just for Kids and Back-To-School Tips: How Divorced Parents Can Make School Season Less Stressful