Top 10 List: Do’s and Don’ts for Divorcing/Blended Families During the Summer Vacation

Many readers enjoyed this article from a few years ago, and I thought it was worth reprinting.

Summer should be a wonderful time for a child – a time when memories are made that last a lifetime. Play your part to insure this happens!

DO:

  1. Ask what your child would like to do for the summer. Consider summer camps, Vacation Bible School and social plans they might want to participate in – particularly for an older child.
  2. Set a specific schedule, put it on the calendar and let your child know exactly when the child will be with each parent. Stick to the schedule to avoid confusion for your child or the other parent.
  3. Confer with and get the other parent’s approval, in writing, if you want to switch periods of possession.
  4. Reassure your child that you are okay with both parents being involved in the child’s life.
  5. Accept that the child loves both of their parents – and even stepparents!

DON’T:

  1. Be a “no show” for your child. This is akin to being stood up by a parent. The pain is great, and the feeling of abandonment is profound for the child.
  2. Plan an activity for your child during the other parent’s periods of possession for a non-emergency event, thereby sabotaging summer plans the other parent has with the child. A child can be conflicted and feel that he has to choose.
  3. Interrogate your child after a visit with the other parent. It’s acceptable to ask general questions about their visit with the other parent, but don’t snoop.
  4. Make your child feel bad about enjoying his visit with the other parent.
  5. Have a “significant other” with you or pawn your child off to a “significant other” or “sitter” during your periods of possession. Have a lot of one-on-one time with your child, thereby affirming how important your child is to you. Insure that your child knows that you value the time you have with him.