The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero screen time for children under two years old, and it encourages “consistent limits” on screen time for children six years old and older. However, the average child between the ages of 8 and 18 spends seven hours a day in front of a screen, and too much screen time can be detrimental to children’s physical health, development, and motor skills. As a parent, you only want the very best for your child, and you may choose to set limits on their screen time in order to ensure their health and well-being. But what if your ex-spouse does not agree with these or other rules?
It can be extremely difficult for a divorced parent to deal with a former partner who, in their opinion, does not have the best interests of their child in mind and demonstrates this by allowing their child to spend unlimited time watching TV or bent over a smartphone. Parents may be able to address these concerns during divorce and in the years after by creating a parenting plan that works for the children first and the parents second, with a focus on open communication and compromise between the parents.
Addressing Different Parenting Styles
Divorced parents may have different parenting styles, and this should not necessarily be seen as a negative. In fact, it is a great asset for children to have both a mother and a father actively involved in their lives, and this is something that should be preserved unless there is serious reason to believe that one parent is negligent or abusive.
Unfortunately, it is common for parents to disagree on certain things, such as bedtimes, curfews, the types of food served, and technology use, including cell phones, TV time, and video games. To ensure consistency, a parenting plan can put a structure in place that provides for children’s best interests, ensures that children’s needs will be met, and provides parents with some reassurance that their children will be cared for correctly. It can also address how parents can resolve disagreements that may arise regarding the decisions they make when raising their children.
What Rules Should Be Set in a Parenting Plan?
It is important to pick one’s battles wisely when creating rules for your children that you want to be enforced at the other parent’s house. Typically, you can take one of two approaches. The first is to include specific rules within the parenting plan that both parents must agree upon. This is only a good option if both parents can compromise or want the same things for their children. This method may be beneficial if a parent is concerned about specific matters, such as the methods of discipline, the need for children to complete homework on time, or the diets children should follow.
The second option is for each parent to keep their own set of rules at their respective houses. This requires a certain level of trust between parents, but it can be beneficial for children, since they will eventually learn the rules at each home and adjust accordingly, falling into a predictable routine and feeling at ease no matter which house they are in. This method helps avoid unnecessary conflict and arguments between parents.
A Wheaton Divorce Lawyer Can Help
Ultimately, a combination of the two approaches to setting rules may be best. Parents may be able to agree on certain rules that will be followed while trusting each other to meet their children’s needs and provide for their best interests. A skilled attorney can help you create a fair parenting plan that addresses your concerns and your children’s unique circumstances. If necessary, an attorney can assist with modifying your parenting plan to meet your children’s changing needs. Contact the dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.