Top Ten “To-Do’s” as a Step Parent

Ten Tips to Tackle summer vacation in divorced/blended families

  1. Allow a child to have input about summer plans.
  2. Be considerate of the other parent’s plans.
  3. Let the other parent know well in advance if you intend to exercise all of your period of possession or less so that there is ample time to plan for child care, if necessary.
  4. Make sure the child has a regular time to communicate with the other parent while in your possession. (unmonitored and private)
  5. Don’t text, email or call your child constantly while they are with the other parent.
  6. If your child needs to go to camps or day care, consult with your child regarding their preference. Don’t enroll your child in a activities that are convenient for you, giving little thought to the needs/desires of your child.
  7. In Texas the Standard Possession Order provides for 30 days in the summer if parties live 100 miles or less from each other and for 42 days is the parties reside over 100 miles from each other. Consider if your child wants to be away from the other parent and their “things” for that long of a period of time. Consider breaking up the vacation into 2-3 shorter periods of time with a week or so between visits.
  8. Provide a notice letter to the other parent that addresses long-distance travel. Include notice of date, time, flight number and the airport where the child is scheduled to leave and return.
  9. Flight arrangements should be made for the child only on major commercial passenger airlines, on flights, having no change of airplanes between the airport of departure and the airport of final arrival (a "nonequipment change flight").
  10. A note to the parent who is not in possession of the child: use this time for yourself. Indulge in activities for yourself that are refreshing for your mind and body. Get together with friends, partake in a favorite hobby or just enjoy downtime for yourself. Do things that are fun!

This advice might be accepted by emotionally healthy people trying to do the right thing as a step parent. Unfortunately, many people deal with emotionally very unhealthy ex spouses and their new (equally unhealthy) spouses. I will devote an article to that fact scenario in an article in the near future.

Summer is the stuff of dreams. Summer is the time of infinite fun.