There is no magic bullet when it comes to parental conflict. However, we would like to make the following positive suggestions and we think that bearing them in mind will help reduce the risk of a summer-ruining disagreement.
Put the children first
An obvious one (and apologies if it sounds a little patronising) but arrangements for your children should be based on what is in their best interests. Speak with your children to see what they would like to do over the summer. Try and take everybody’s wishes into consideration when discussing plans. Keeping the children’s welfare at the centre of your planning should make reaching satisfactory arrangements far easier.
Start planning early
Parents should give themselves plenty of time to discuss plans and avoid leaving things until the last minute. Last minute conversations with your ex-partner will only increase tension and make it less likely that you will reach an amicable compromise. The earlier you start checking and co-ordinating diaries the better.
Put it in writing
If you do reach agreement in respect of the summer arrangements, get it written down. Emails and/or text messages will be fine; just make sure there is some evidence of what has been agreed. The problem with verbal agreements is that very often people misremember, or even forget, previous discussions – this can then lead to real anger and frustration as the other parent then perceives that an agreement is being gone back on. None of this is to say that a written agreement will be in any way legally binding, but it can only help.
Summer should be a fun and happy time for children. You should therefore try and ensure that your children get to enjoy time with both you and your ex-partner. Refusing to agree shared time or making your children feel guilty for wanting to spend time with your ex-partner will inevitably have a negative impact on them. Being flexible and accommodating will hopefully mean your ex-partner is more likely to take a similar approach in the future.
Supply all the information you have about your summer plans to your ex-partner as soon as you can. Perhaps try to avoid firm commitments and bookings until all arrangements are agreed. It would certainly be unwise to start booking flights and/or accommodation until things have been agreed.
Article by: Karol Kaliczak