One of the most contentious areas of co-parenting is navigating through your child’s sports commitments. The time and money requirements can be substantial, and scheduling with your ex is a potential firestorm of conflict. These tips will help you determine the best way to make the best out of co-parenting with your child’s sports.
The Benefit of Sports for Children of Divorce
First of all, is the added hassle of having your kids in sports worth it? Absolutely.
It should be no surprise that participating in sports can be extraordinarily valuable to your child. According to American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, playing sports helps children with a variety of benefits. These include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Developing physical skill
- Improving self-esteem
- Learning to be part of a team
- Importance of sportsmanship and fairness
- Making friends and having fun
Simply put, sports help build character. Avoid the overly competitive, high-stress focus that has, unfortunately, carried down from college and professional sports. That’s not what sports should be about at a young age. Remember that many of these attitudes and behaviors learned through sports will carry over into your child’s adult life.
As a parent, you’ll need to be actively involved in your child’s sports experience. This includes more than just attending games. You should be learning about your child’s sport and getting involved; providing emotional support and positive feedback; giving your child realistic expectations; helping your child cope with loss and disappointments; and modeling respectful behavior.
Co-Parenting with Sports
If you and your ex share custody, here’s where the added element of dealing them can cause unwanted conflict. The way to address this is to head it off early with understanding, a mutual respect, and careful planning.
First off, keep things in perspective. This isn’t about you and your ex; it’s about your child’s happiness. It’s best to determine these things beforehand, to avoid any unnecessary conflicts as the season progresses.
- Who does what? Sports participation (and, especially equipment) is not cheap. Between you and your ex, decide upfront who is going to pay for what.
- In addition to the monetary commitment, the largest commitment to your child’s sports involvement is time. You and your ex will need to agree on who is going to drive your child to and from practice and games.
- Will you and your ex both be attending every game? Or will you agree to alternate? Like everything else, come to an agreement that is fair where no party (including your child) feels as though they’re being cheated.
Include Specifics in Your Parenting Plan
When you get divorced, you should outline the specifics of child custody and child support in your parenting plan. As your child grows older, and situations and needs change, these parenting plans should be modified.
Anything that could potentially create a financial or scheduling conflict with your ex should be included in your parenting plan. The less surprises for anybody means the less conflicts for everybody.
Navigating through divorce and a parenting plan can be complicated and stressful. The attorneys at AB Law are experienced family law attorneys here to help you through life’s toughest obstacles.