Sharing parental responsibilities across two households is always a challenge, especially right after you first separate. However, you and your ex can set yourself up for increased chances of success while co-parenting through the negotiation of a thorough and mutually-agreeable parenting plan.
Your parenting plan can delegate decision-making authority and outline how you divide parenting time. It can also help you prevent conflicts by addressing certain family matters ahead of time. Technology is a major source of conflict in modern households.
From fights with teens about when they can sign up for social media to disagreements about the best way to communicate with your children, there are certain technological considerations that you may want to address ahead of time in your parenting plan.
How much screen time is allowed?
Consistency is key to having children respect and internalize rules. Inconsistently-enforced rules are rules that children will try to ignore when possible.
If you want to prevent your children from becoming completely dependent on mobile technology for socialization and entertainment, then you need to present a united front when it comes to limiting how much time they spend on various screen-based devices throughout the day.
Are you okay with social media?
When your children are older, they can potentially sign up for social media accounts. Such accounts allow them to quickly connect with their friends, but they can also facilitate bad behavior, ranging from inappropriate partying to bullying.
Additionally, social media use frequently has a negative impact on teens’ self-esteem and mental health. If the two of you agree about how your family should tackle the social media issue, you can avoid conflicts where the children try to play you against one another in hopes of achieving their preferred outcome.
What devices will you use to communicate?
Does your ex want your 10-year-old to have a cellphone so that they can call anytime without you playing the intermediary? Will you expect your children to add you on social media if they start their own accounts?
Talking ahead of time about what forms of technology you will use to communicate with the children and how you will pay for those devices and services can prevent a fight in the future and ensure constant communication between the children and both of their parents.
Addressing common issues, like technology concerns, in your parenting plan will set you up for co-parenting success.