Have you ever heard a parent talk about their weekend parenting time as “my time?” This simple way to clarify schedules occasionally turns possessory.
Certainly, it may be “mom’s weekend” or “dad’s weekend,” yet the fact it remains the child’s weekend sometimes seems overlooked.
While parents figure out their schedules, they may not always remember that these younger humans have their own needs. What if a child wants that camping, shopping, or cousin time when it’s “not that parent’s weekend?” The child may also have friend or activity plans that do not involve either parents’ physical presence.
At what age did you want to spend less time with your parents? This does not minimize the importance of parenting time. Children likely want to know parents are “there for them,” yet not exactly right there all the time. Plus, they usually need food and transportation, which often proves an important bonding time.
When both parents do not live under the same roof, children lose immediate access to both parents. This takes adjustment time for everyone involved.
Recognizing the importance of each parent-child relationship and respecting the different nature of those relationships proves helpful. What was your relationship with each parent? Was it the same? I certainly loved both of my parents yet established a very different relationship with each one.
How do you navigate schedule issues when one parent feels they have such limited time with the children anyway?
A little listening, understanding, creativity, and flexibility go a long way toward helping everyone feel comfortable with a parenting schedule. Parenting times and schedules that worked for toddlers may not best suit tweens and teens.
Remember, it the child’s time, as well as each parent’s time. What do you want to overhear your child say as an adult about the respect for time?
Judges will decide what is best for families when parents cannot agree. For parents who want to make the decisions on their own, and need help having the conversation, mediation may help.