Anxious Co-Parent? 5 Tips To Cope With Your Anxiety

Anxious coparent

Family is one of the essential parts of your life and the sole source of motivation. Due to interpersonal conflicts, you may need to break cords with your partner and move ahead. But, the co-parenting responsibilities might impose a hurdle in the path of moving on and doing better. While you owe a good education and the utmost care to your child, bearing an interaction with your ex can feel like a nightmare. With the right tips and suitable measures, you can beat the anxiety that comes from talking to your ex now and then.

Here are the tips for coping up with your anxiety while co-parenting and taking care of your child.

1.  Identify Your Triggers

One of the most important causes of anxiety is the frequent triggers you face after meeting your ex-partner. It could be anything, ranging from an event or a situation, that makes you react impulsively. Also, identification of the possible triggers can minimize the after-effects and ease your anxiety. Challenge your thoughts and try to overcome the feeling to beat the anxious thoughts. The moment you feel your heart racing, practice breathing exercises to calm your nerves down. Such measures can help you tackle the triggers without giving in to the negative thoughts.

With time, your mind is likely to stop reacting to the triggers and curb the panic attacks. If communicating with your ex for a long time causes distress, you can establish the much-needed boundaries.

2.  Cut The Call As Soon As Possible

The initial days of your divorce can be pretty vulnerable and challenging. During these times, you need to minimize the communication in several ways to move on. Co-parenting doesn’t allow you to cut off cords completely and stop talking altogether. But, you can stick to short calls and discuss the business without deviating from the topic of discussion. Try to control your emotions and step back before giving in to the heat of the moment. Also, you can try other ways of communication like emails or texts. It gives you adequate time to think, process, and react in the right manner.

Such small measures can help you tackle the anxiety and deal with the triggers. Along with this, it reduces the chances of your child hearing things that they shouldn’t as of now. Make sure to limit communication and stick to the established boundaries to prevent anxiety. If the anxiety gets over your life, you can resort to the red malay kratom to uplift the mood.

3.  Be Flexible

Co-parenting is full of unexpected plans and never-ending compromises between you and your partner. You must remain flexible to changes in plans and unforeseen delays. Also, try to sort out the timings with your ex-partner in an effective manner. While your ex gets to stay with the baby for new year’s night, you can keep your kid for Christmas dinner. Such compromises go a long way in managing the co-parenting deal and allow you to spend adequate time with your child. Not to forget, it can help manage the financial and emotional needs of your child.

Always expect the unexpected and make the most of the little time you get with your baby. Preach to settle for the best ways that help in molding your child’s future and provide a balanced upbringing.

4.  Seek Professional Guidance

Divorce and co-parenting can be exhausting for your body as well as the mind. Hence, you may experience anxiety and burnout more often than before. In case the situation goes out of your hand, don’t hesitate to seek professional psychiatric support. You can try consulting a marriage coach to discuss your issues and vent your heart out. Try to remain calm and composed in front of your child as well as your ex-partner. Instead, you can talk your heart out with the psychologist and seek the required support.

Your marriage coach will guide you throughout the process and help take care of the triggers. That way, you can take control of your personal life and the responsibilities as a co-parent. Don’t forget to ask for a day off from the duties if the burden gets too much to handle.

5.  Try To Consider Your Child’s Perspective

Anxious co-parent

Breaking the relationship can feel like a significant trauma and evoke a feeling of hatred towards your ex-partner. But, you must try to let the negative feelings go and consider the situation from your child’s place. Healthy upbringing involves the support of both the parents in every aspect. Hence, your child needs your ex as much as you in the growing-up process. Empathizing towards your child can be a great way to overcome the negative feelings towards your ex. Also, it can ease the triggers and help you be a responsible co-parent for your little one.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety and stress are inevitable during the co-parenting days due to communication with your ex-partner. But, you can ease the triggers and manage the responsibility with simple tips and tricks. Try to identify the situations or discussions or trigger the anxiety attacks. Also, you can establish boundaries and set a few modes of communication to avoid unnecessary arguments. You might want to seek professional support and be flexible with your schedule. See the situation from your child’s perspective and realize that the kid needs both the parents during the growth phase. Such measures and realizations can help you tackle the co-parenting stage like a grown-up parent.

Finding a New Home That Your Child Will Love After a Divorce

Divorce is challenging for the entire family and moving makes it even harder. Read on for tips to help easily navigate this process.

It’s no secret that moving can be stressful. Add in the lingering distress of a recent divorce or separation and confused or emotionally distraught children, and you may start to feel overwhelmed. Despite these challenges, moving may be just what you and your children need. Finding a new place to live, whether near or far can provide the family with a fresh start. How you go about this move will make all the difference. Here are seven ways to successfully find a new home for you and your children after a divorce.

Be Transparent

Neither divorce, nor separation are easy experiences to go through, especially when children are involved. You and your kids may go through a range of emotions as you try to process what this change means for your future. Oftentimes, children wonder if they are the cause of the separation. While that is rarely the reason that couples divorce, it’s important to reassure your children of this truth, particularly as you prepare to make other major decisions like choosing a new home. Being transparent will not eliminate your child’s sadness, anger or pain, but having an understanding of what is going on and why can make the transition a little easier.

While being honest is important, discretion is key. Depending on the age of your children, transparency will look different. No matter their age, though, they don’t need all the gorey details, but you should avoid half truths. Stick to the facts rather than badmouthing the other parent or blaming them for the separation. Anticipate that the kids will be upset and sometimes that anger will be misdirected, but your approach can make all the difference

While you don’t need to discuss the end of your marriage frequently, be open to conversation with your children about the topic. Not only will this keep the lines of communication open, but such conversations may reveal any concerns that they might have. In turn, you can take these worries into consideration during your house hunt journey. As you do make decisions about moving, try to keep your children involved by taking them along to see the spaces and preparing them for the differences that may result from the move.

Establish a Budget and Stick to it

Sometimes guilt overwhelms recently divorced parents, and they mistakenly overindulge their children. This can happen even when it comes to picking a new place to live. After completely altering their lives, you may feel like you need to give them the world. However, instead of making promises that may create a financial burden, remember that the most important thing your children need is love. To avoid living beyond your means, make it a goal to establish a budget based on your new financial situation.

Whether you are planning to buy or rent a new home, a budget will come in handy. It’s important to be honest about what you can and cannot afford, especially before you discuss moving with your children. For instance, a pool or sizable backyard may be exciting for the kids, but if these features in a new home fall outside of your price range, it’s best to forego them. Remember that such things may temporarily intrigue your children, but are not worth going into debt over. Afterall, neither a big backyard nor a fancy pool can heal the pain they may experience during the divorce. Rather, set yourself up for success with a realistic budget that allows you to spend quality time with your kiddos, rather than working incessantly to keep up an expensive lifestyle. Your children will remember the time you spent with them more than anything money can buy.

As you create a budget that fits your new lifestyle, you may recognize that it does not allow for all things that your life once included. For instance, you may no longer be able to afford a residential cleaning service, but this change provides an opportunity for the kids to help more around the house. That’s okay; embrace this change and opportunity to help your children grow.

Find a Community

Moving with children after a divorce may involve relocating to a new neighborhood filled with unfamiliar faces, changing schools or simply being further away from your child’s favorite park. It’s true that nothing nor anyone can replace what you and your children are living behind. However, there are ways to make finding your place in a new community easier.

As you begin your house or apartment hunting journey, search for a family-centric neighborhood. While it may be challenging for you and your children to leave behind not only your spouse, but your close friends and neighbors, help your children to see the beauty of the change by finding an area that allows them to broaden their horizons and widen out. It’s tough to say goodbye to some of your favorite places, but buying a home or renting an apartment in a neighborhood that is community-oriented, family-centered and has lots to do can help you and your children feel welcome. Signing your children up for sports teams in the area, taking advantage of local parks and rec activities or simply walking around the new neighborhood can make the transition enjoyable.

A lot of change all at once can be difficult for anyone to deal with. So, if it’s possible to move without forcing the kids to change schools right away or at all, opt to do so. Sometimes school districts will allow students to complete whatever grade they are in before switching schools. If your child’s current school allows such an arrangement, it may be worthwhile to explore this option to give your child time to mentally and emotionally prepare for a new school. If remaining at the same school or in the same school district is not possible, help your children prepare for the change by attending any new student events and taking them to meet their new teachers before their first day.

Hire Movers

Once you’ve settled on a new home, do yourself a favor and hire a moving company. We all know the challenges that come along with moving. With children in the mix, you should anticipate obstacles that you’ve never faced before. Despite all the planning, preparation and open conversation, emotions are likely to be high on the day of the move. Hiring a moving company can help make things easier for everyone involved. While the movers take care of loading, you will be able to tend to your emotions and those of your children. Better yet, with careful, advanced planning and the help of a reputable moving company, you may be able to distract yourself and your children from the commotion of moving day with games, food, and upbuilding conversation.

During past moves, your ex-spouse may have been present, but this time things could be different. While you may have less stuff, trying to pack and load everything on your own will likely be challenging. You will appreciate the extra sets of hands.

Before you settle on a moving company, there’s a few things to consider. Take a look at the company’s reviews, get estimates and verify their credentials. Though your financial standing may have changed since the divorce, don’t simply go for the cheapest movers. This may involve using a credit card or taking out a small loan. You want a smooth transition from your current location to your new home. The moving company you choose can play a huge role in the seamlessness of the move.

Declutter, Downsize and Pack

Nailing down a moving date and movers will help you gauge when to start packing. Your packing experience will be much better if you declutter and downsize first. Think of decluttering as an opportunity to get rid of items that cannot be sold or given away because they are too old, dirty or tattered. Younger children usually like to help their parents, so enlist their assistance in decluttering. Not only will doing so allow you to rid your home of anything you don’t need to take along, your child will enjoy getting to help with a grownup task.

Downsizing is a bit tougher than decluttering. It involves more than simply tidying or discarding. Sometimes downsizing involves getting rid of items we like or love out of necessity. Depending on the size of your new home, it may not be possible to bring all of your belongings. If your finances have taken a hit during the divorce, downsizing may be necessary. Carrying out this task might be difficult for the entire family. To make it more enjoyable and manageable, try going through each child’s possessions separately with them. Downsizing and packing can be emotional, but it also provides an opportunity to go down memory lane as you rediscover objects that have been buried away. So, if you have had a hard time getting your children to open up to you about their feelings regarding the divorce, paring down may encourage them to open up.

After you have thoroughly and efficiently decluttered and downsized, it’s time to start packing! In a tidy environment and with less stuff, your packing experience will be much more manageable. Again, try to make the task enjoyable. Pick a week or certain days to focus on packing and then use those days as opportunities to enjoy your family’s favorite takeout meals. In addition, take breaks and incorporate simple games, like a scavenger hunt for young children.

Decorate Thoughtfully

Once you are all moved in, it’s time to make your new house a home. This is very important, as you want your children to feel comfortable in the new space. Allow your kids to have a say when it comes to decorating their rooms. Add familiar touches to their rooms, like any sentimental items from their other parent. It’s unlikely that you will want to decorate your home with pictures of you and your ex-mate, but it’s important that your children still feel connected to them. As a compromise, you might consider placing pictures of your ex-spouse with the children in their individual bedrooms.

As for the rest of the house, you may choose to ask your children for their input, as well. However, when it comes to shared spaces, such as a living room, den, dining room or finished basement, it’s important to be thoughtful when decorating. If the events leading up to the divorce were traumatic for the children, avoid decorating with items that may remind them of those tough times. It’s better to sell or donate those pieces, and buy new things according to your budget. Sometimes it’s not possible to get rid of certain things. If that’s the case, consider refurbishing the piece. With a little sanding or a fresh coat of paint, you can bring life and happiness into items that were once associated with painful times.

Start Fresh, But Be Patient

One of the most important things about moving with your children after a divorce is starting fresh at a reasonable pace. Too much change in a short amount of time can be traumatic and overwhelming, but little to no change can be just as damaging. Aim to maintain routines, but adopt new healthy habits. For instance, if you normally eat meals together, continue to do so. If you’ve never eaten meals together, try to start. It may seem like a small thing, but a divorce can leave your children feeling angry, sad and even isolated. It’s important to keep the family unit strong despite the change. Remember, finding a home that your children will love following a divorce is about more than the physical location. The behavior that each family member exhibits plays a huge role in their affinity for their new homebase.

Divorce, housing hunting and moving are some of the most major experiences a person can go through. Thankfully, it’s possible to stay positive throughout the journey and settle into the perfect place that suits you and your child’s new lifestyle.

5 Crucial Tips To Deal With The Stress Of Divorce

Stress of divorce

Relationships are one of the essential parts of your life due to constant support and emotional understanding. But, things can go wrong and take a drastic turn soon after uttering “I do.” You may experience anxious thoughts and racing hearts quite often after your divorce. Also, it can affect your social skills and lead to mental issues. Such after-divorce effects might hinder your daily life and call for adequate protective measures. You must sit back and find out the effective ways to deal with the stress and live a happy life.

1.  Normalize The Mixed Feelings

Do you feel anxious and exhausted at one time and aggressive and heated at the next? Mixed feelings are pretty standard, especially after breaking ties with your partner. Venturing into the unknown without any support system by your side can be frightening. Also, it induces a sense of doubt about your capabilities and makes you feel vulnerable. You need to accept the mixed feelings and normalize the thousands of thoughts you experience. Try to let the thoughts flow without reacting to them. That way, you realize that these mixed feelings are temporary and better days await ahead.

While identifying your present emotions, you must try and make more room for positive feelings. Know that life has so much more to offer than just a life partner and a happy married life. Along with this, stay open to the unknown and let life guide you through these times. In case the stress takes over your mind and becomes unbearable, you can always resort to cbdMD for some calming CBD supplements.

2.  Practice Self Care

During the moving on phase, even the normal tasks like waking up and taking a shower can be a lot to do. You may feel like lying on the bed and doing nothing for the entire day. But, try to understand that doing absolutely nothing is harmful to your body and your mind. You need to take care of yourself and practice self-care habits. Whether it’s a nice and warm bubble bath or your favorite cup of coffee on the bed, every little habit makes you feel better.

Hence, you must nurture your body and do the things you love. Take out a few minutes to read a self-help book with the sunset right in front. Or, maybe you can prep your skin with some herbal skincare products. Eat healthy and nutrient-packed foods to rejuvenate your mind and beat the negativity. Living an everyday life and keeping yourself busy at times can be the best stress-buster. Also, understand your worth and start a new journey at this point in life.

3.  Don’t Make Abrupt Decisions.

A life crisis predisposes you to unwanted emotions and constant adrenaline surge. While moving on from the pain of divorce, you must refrain from making some life-changing decisions. Constant emotional disturbance can affect your decision-making abilities and cognition. Further, you might end up doing something that isn’t good for your future self. Try to make decisions after proper analysis and estimation of the future outcomes. That way, you can weigh all your options and make rational decisions.

Always go after practicality and logic for long-term benefits. Decisions driven by emotions are likely to backfire and cause more harm than good.

4.  Let Go

If you can’t control a situation, then you shouldn’t spend even a minute overthinking about it. One of the best ways to deal with separation stress is to let go and quit overthinking. You must utilize the time to find out what’s best for you and your future. Also, try to stay away from negative assumptions and quit overthinking the uncontrollable. Such habits can help you tackle these difficult times and curb stress. Apart from this, you need to step back and say no to any arguments with your ex-partner. While moving on from the relationship takes time, communicating with your ex over the irreparable stuff worsens it. Get some mental clarity and remind yourself not to look back.

Do your best to secure a promising future and take the past incidents as a lifelong lesson. All these measures can help in letting go and venturing into the mysterious life ahead.

5.  Exercise Daily

Another essential habit of incorporating into your life is an exercise routine. Staying active can reduce the levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Also, it contributes to a sense of accomplishment, nurtures your body, and limits negative emotions. Separation predisposes you to uncontrollable anger, aggression, and irritability. In such cases, you need a sweat-drenching workout to uplift your mood and stay positive.

Research suggests that exercise is the best way to deal with mental issues like anxiety and depression. Don’t forget to start with the beginner’s workout routine and deal with the mixed emotions like a pro.

Final Words

Divorce is the last thing that any couple wants to go through after tying the knots. Also, it can be quite stressful to deal with due to anxious thoughts and a feeling of vulnerability. If you’re unable to deal with the pain of separation, you must find out effective tips to tackle the issues. Start with understanding your emotions and make more room for positive ones. Also, you can practice self-care habits like reading books or taking a hot shower when you feel stressed. Include more movement in your routine to release stress and negative emotions.

How to Create New Family Holiday Traditions After Divorce

Holiday searated parents with kids

Every year families in America spend more than $4,000 on vacations. These vacations signal a special time to kick back, relax, and share quality time with your family.

After a divorce with kids, it can feel like that dynamic changes. Most couples do not continue holidaying together after a divorce. You may also find that your traditional holiday destinations no longer have appeal.

While this change can feel a little odd, it also means that you have a great opportunity to create new holiday traditions! Embracing this change means that holidays after divorce can be just as much fun as those before it.

Struggling for ideas about how to create new holiday traditions with your family? Well, we’re happy to help! Read on to find out our top tips for making the most of family vacations after a divorce.

Acknowledge the Difference 

Holidays after divorce are always going to be different even if you’re friendly with your ex. Acknowledging this change with yourself and your kids is really important.

Remember, more than 700,000 marriages end in divorce every year. So if you’re going through it you’re not alone! In fact, loads of families navigate this transition successfully every year.

It’s a good idea to ask your kids about how they’re feeling around the holidays. Try to do this lightly – they might be feeling more okay than you are and the last thing you want is to stress them out!

One nice way to bring it up is to ask if there’s anything they like to do during the holidays. To avoid putting them in the middle of two households, present yourself and your ex as a united front. This will make your children feel much more comfortable expressing what they really want.

Include Your Kids in Holiday Planning

One of the most important things about planning holidays for divorced families is ensuring that everyone feels included. This is why it’s a great idea to include your kids in vacation planning.

This might involve asking them:

  • Where they’d like to spend the holidays
  • If there are any activities they’d particularly like to try
  • Discussing holiday destinations they’ve always wanted to visit

To keep things family orientated, you might want to suggest a trip away with their cousins or grandparents. It’s a good idea to try something a little different after a divorce. Trying to recreate an old family holiday can be emotional for everyone involved.

If you do include your kids in holiday planning, you need to be prepared for differences of opinion. For example, if your kids live with your ex and have plans with friends they may want to stay in the area over the summer. In that case, it might be worth thinking about doing a mini-break somewhere nearby.

Try not to take this personally if it does happen. Their friends are an important part of their support network. So it’s understandable that they might want to spend time with them.

Discuss Scheduling With Your Ex

As with all things co-parenting communication is absolutely vital. After divorce, parenting as a unit is the most effective way to create cohesion for everyone involved.

This avoids your children feeling like they’re being pulled in different directions. It also makes planning ahead much easier.

Having a conversation about vacation plans can be very difficult and requires sensitivity. If you need to, bringing a mediator in can really help with this. That way you can both discuss things you need with someone in the room to keep things calm.

It’s important that you do not ask your children to decide what happens during the vacations directly. This can put them on the spot in a very stressful way.

Instead, ask about things that they might like to do and make suggestions for activities. That way you’re focusing on building something nice together rather than fixating on what isn’t happening.

If you get on well with your ex then you might consider spending some of the holidays together. For example, if your children have birthdays during the holidays you might both want to spend the day with them. 

However, it’s important that you only do this if you are absolutely comfortable. Forcing yourselves to “have a nice time for the kids” on a special day could end in disaster.

While spending time apart can be difficult, it ensures that everyone has a relaxing holiday. The most important thing is to act in a way that is fair for everyone involved.

Get Out and About

Being stuck in the house for the holidays during divorce or after it can really emphasize the change. While it’s important to acknowledge and talk about this, getting out and about will do everyone good. 

Some great ideas of fun activities to do with your kids during the holidays include: 

  • Going for walks and picnics to check out local landmarks 
  • Going swimming
  • Doing some gardening (especially if you’ve moved into a new house!)
  • Going for a bike ride
  • Visiting an outdoor cinema (or creating your own in your garden)
  • Going to the beach for a day
  • Creating your own scavenger hunt
  • Holding your own sports day
  • Den-building
  • Visiting a trampoline park 
  • Baking 

All of these activities will keep your kids entertained without costing you the earth. So rather than using your holiday budget for one big activity, why not stretch it out to create a fun-filled week?

Of course, you can balance all these activities out with lots of cozy nights playing games or watching movies.

Stay in Touch During the Holidays

Unfortunately, there will be times when you aren’t with your kids during the vacations. This is one of the hardest parts of holidays during a divorce, especially for long-distance families.

It’s really important to show your kids that even if you aren’t with them you’re thinking of something. Make sure you keep in touch with them over the holidays by calling and messaging them.

If you aren’t with them for birthdays or Christmas, make sure you send any gifts and cards in plenty of time. This will ensure they have something to open and will show them you’re thinking of them.

Show Your Kids That You’ll Make Time for Them

When you can’t spend the whole vacation with your kids it’s important you make the most of the time you have with them. This shows them that you want to spend time with them.

Planning your vacation schedule in advance with your ex is incredibly important. That way everyone, including your children, will know in advance what is going to happen.

Make sure you can dedicate this time to your kids as much as possible. This means keeping your social schedule free and taking time off work if you can. That way they will feel like they are your sole focus. 

If you do have any special holiday traditions between just you and your children these don’t have to go out of the window. Holding on to find little activities that you used to do will show your kids that your love for them hasn’t changed.

Keep Busy If You’re On Your Own 

Being alone during the holidays can be a difficult time especially if you’re doing it for the first time. So it’s important that you keep yourself busy to avoid feeling too down.

This is a good time to reach out to friends and family. That way they can include you in their holiday plans if it works.

Make sure you do this in advance as a lot of people make their holiday plans early on. This will make factoring you in much easier.

If you are on your own, make sure you treat the holidays like just that. Take a break from work and make sure you’re doing something you enjoy.

If you’re looking for something worthwhile to do over the holidays why not look into volunteering? This is a great way to give something back and will leave you feeling fulfilled.

And if you aren’t seeing your kids during the holidays make sure you have something booked in with them soon. That way you will all be able to look forward to time together.

Approach Introducing Them to New People Carefully 

After a divorce with kids, you might not be thinking about moving on very much at all. However, one in five marriages in America is a remarriage. So at some point (now or in the future), you may think about introducing your kids to a new partner.

It is important to handle this sensitively and it’s a good idea to keep it away from family holidays. For example, Christmas for divorced families would be a very bad time to introduce your kids to a new partner. This is a time when you should be focusing on them.

It’s far better to introduce a new partner to them in short bursts, such as over dinner.

If you do really want your new partner to join your holiday, consider having them join you for a weekend or short stay. That way, you still have a lot of quality one-on-one time with your kids.

Over time, you can start bringing together a blended family using fun activities or mini holidays. But it’s a good idea to take this slow and not throw anyone in at the deep end!

Plan in Advance 

Planning ahead after divorce with kids makes all the difference. This means that when you do see your kids you can focus on spending quality time with them. This means organizing things such as:

  • Exactly when you will be seeing your kids (including who is doing the pickup and drop off) 
  • Scheduling around any events they already have in the diary (such as parties or sports games)
  • Getting a food shop or delivery in advance so you don’t have to waste time in the store
  • Making a list of fun or free activities to do in the area to keep them entertained
  • Booking accommodation and travel if you are going away
  • Putting in holiday requests with work well in advance to ensure you are available

Having all of this in place before your holidays begin means you’ll have more time to relax later on. This will help you to be a more present parent and will let you enjoy the holiday yourself!

Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself 

Speaking of enjoying the holiday, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to create the perfect family holiday. Americans might spend almost 200 hours every year daydreaming about holidays. But it’s important not to let fantasy overtake reality!

No family holiday is ever perfect. In fact, it’s often the unplanned moments that create the best holiday memories. So don’t worry if you’re working with a tight budget or if things change last minute. 

It’s extremely important to take care of yourself when planning a family holiday after a divorce. You will probably feel emotional about the change in your family dynamic. This is a totally normal response. 

Reaching out to friends and family For support at this time can make all the difference. That way you have someone to talk to.

And if things don’t go perfectly to plan that’s also okay! Focusing your time and attention on your kids is far more important than creating a picture-perfect vacation.

Enjoy Your Holidays After a Divorce With Kids

Whether you are planning a Christmas after divorce or a summer vacation with your kids, adjusting to this change can be difficult.

However, if you seize this opportunity to create traditions after a divorce with kids you can have more fun than ever before! In fact, it could be exactly what you all need.

For more help managing co-parenting schedules during the holidays, sign up for your free trial of the 2houses app now. It’s sure to take the pressure off.

3 Excellent Ways to use Creativity and Education to Bond with Your Kids After Separation

Bond with your kids after separation

In cases of separation, what the majority of parents are concerned about is the wellbeing of their children and how the entire situation might affect them. Most children find it confusing that their parents live in different places and they have two homes now, not to mention that they don’t have daily contact with one of their parents anymore. In addition, they sometimes have to adjust to new surroundings, new school and sometimes even their parents’ new partners. Fortunately, kids are able to bounce back and they can do so more quickly if you, as a parent, put some effort into helping them cope. One of the ways to do that is to strengthen the bonds between you and your children. Here are some ideas on how to do exactly that through educating children and inspiring them to be more creative.

Read with them

There aren’t many things in this amazing world that can spark a child’s imagination like an interesting story. Those parents who want to take advantage of this in order to bond with their children, brighten their thoughts and stimulate their intellect should turn to books. First, have your children see you read, as they’ll be more prone to do it themselves that way. Then, when they start showing interest in books, either read to them or, if they’re old enough, find books they can read themselves. Just the act of sitting in the same room and doing the same thing will make you feel closer to each other, as will talking about what you’ve read and perhaps even doing a role play based on the stories from their favorite books. The best part is that, when you talk about the books and how the characters behave and feel, you’ll actually gain a lot of insight into your children’s thoughts, wishes and fears, which is invaluable. Plus, once you instill love for reading in them, it’s more likely they’ll thrive at school and take pleasure in their classes and assignments when they’re older.

Play with them

Another great way to find out if there’s something bothering your child, develop a better relationship with them and boost their creativity is through play. All kids love games and they’ll simply adore the ones they get to play with you. Usually, there’s nothing children want more than for their parents and other adults in their life to play with them, but they don’t get the chance to do that often enough, due to their parents’ daily obligations. This is why you should also make sure they’re in safe hands when you’re not around. For instance, in Sydney, Australia, where divorce rates are quite high, parents seek the best child care Waterloo and other areas can offer, opting for educational centers with an inclusive approach and professional and dedicated staff. So, you should also find a place that promotes acceptance and encouragement for all children and where each child is given the attention they need. That way, whether your children are at home with you, or you put them into daycare, you’ll know that their emotional needs are being met through play and other enjoyable activities. And when they get home, you can play some of the games together and they can share their delight with you.

Practice a new language with them

If there’s one thing that your children can take pleasure in and which can also give them an advantage later in life is learning a new language. While finding an adequate language course or a private tutor is recommended, why not practice with them in the meantime, too? If you think that this is a good time for them to learn a second language, help your children with it by singing songs in that language, showing them flashcards or simply pointing to different objects and asking your kids to name them. If you’re fluent enough, you can even talk to them in the language. After all, children can and should learn outside the classroom as much as they do inside it. Not only will you make it amusing for your child and have them learn something new, but you can also bond with them greatly through such types of activities. The key is to always make it rewarding and entertaining for them and you’ll see how they soak in knowledge and how your connection becomes stronger and more profound.

The relationships between children and their parents play a crucial part in forming the kind of person those children will grow up to be. This is even more significant when your children are forced to go through your separation with you, so let the tips above guide you as you devote all your free time and all of your good will to bonding with your little ones.

Summer Holidays: Managing Conflicting Days Off

Summer holidays and joint custody - 2ouses

Holidays can be tricky for parents with joint custody. After all, many companies do not let you take vacations whenever you want! If you’re struggling to figure out what to do with your children during your holiday (but not theirs), this article is for you.

The Old Standby: The Visitation Schedule

Your custodian agreement likely has a clearly delineated visitation schedule. That said, it’s rare to see a custodial agreement that doesn’t include flexibility for trades, swaps, or other scheduling changes. If you’re struggling to figure out how to handle having your holiday when the kids are still in school, this is the first move.

summer holidays
Mom and son

The more you communicate with your former partner about your desire to spend time with the kids, the better. Be open to swapping weekends or even entire holiday seasons if that’s what it takes. For example, if you’re forced to take your vacation the month before the summer holidays begin, ask to swap possession during those few weeks. If your former partner is proving reticent, consider sweetening the pot: throw in some extended weekend visits.

The goal here is to work within the confines of the existing joint custody agreement to produce the best result for everyone. The more you can achieve with talking, the better.

Bring the Kids Along (Virtually)

If your children aren’t home (and you are taking your holidays), use your free time! For example, consider asking your former partner if it’s possible to do regular video calls with the kids. If physical possession is out of the question, bring the kids along in a virtual sense.

camera and holidays
A vintage camera with vintage photos

Nearly everyone has some combination of smartphone, laptop, or tablet computer. It’s easy as pie to video call the kids daily while you’re off surfing in Hawaii or exploring the streets of Europe. If the time zones don’t line up, or if the kids are busy, record short videos of your vacation adventures. The kids can watch them when they have the time and you’ll remain a constant presence in their life.

Consider Offering Your Own Time

Parenting is the busiest profession in the world, bar none. Taking the kids from soccer practice to band practice to chess club takes time that your former partner may not have. If you’d prefer to spend some of your summer holidays with your kids, offer to make your former partner’s life a bit easier.

Holidays as mono parent
Dad and his daughter at the sea.

Of course, this depends entirely on your joint custody agreement. Your current relationship with your ex certainly comes into play as well. That said, an amicable offer goes a long way: offering to take the kids to soccer practice (followed by ice cream) might give your former spouse a few precious hours they desperately need.

Talk Early, Talk Often

It’s a sad reality that joint custody parenting often focuses more on managing your relationship with your former partner than anything else. The more you talk, the better the outcome for those pesky holiday schedules. Take the time to work out a clear summer holiday schedule as far in advance as possible. The sooner you know there will be a scheduling conflict during your holiday, the better!

Managing Summer Holidays

It’s not fun to find out that you’re forced to take vacation days away from your children. If it happens, take the time to communicate your desires to the other parent and see if an agreement can be reached. If there’s no way to change the vacation schedule, see if it’s possible to volunteer some time here and there. And, of course, phone calls, video chats, and short video clips never go amiss.

It’s not an ideal situation, but use these tips and make the best of it!

The Difference Between Authoritative Parenting and Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritative parenting

Authoritative and authoritarian parenting might sound like the same thing. In truth, they are quite different. They involve different approaches to behavior and vary in their level of success.

How do these parenting strategies differ? How do they affect your child’s development? Which one is better and how can you implement it into your household? 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about authoritarian and authoritative parenting. 

What Is Authoritarian Parenting?

Authoritarian parenting tends to follow an older school of thought. Built upon the foundations of children being seen and not heard, it utilizes phrasing like, “because I said so.” 

This parenting style is characterized by a lack of positive reinforcement and encouragement. Authoritarian parenting strategies involve strict rules and high expectations. At the same time, they fail at providing children with the resources and support required to succeed. 

A child’s inability to listen or behave is quickly followed by severe consequences. In a way, the child was set up for failure, then punished for their lack of success. Shame, embarrassment, and guilt are common themes, along with a general sense of disapproval. 

What Is Authoritative Parenting?

Authoritative parenting does not shy away from high expectations. In fact, setting clear goals is a large part of authoritative parenting. It revolves around the idea of building your child up to help them succeed while maintaining reasonable boundaries.

This parenting style includes sensitivity, positive reinforcement, and transparency. It involves explaining the reasoning behind decisions and rules. It utilizes open communication and encourages discussion. 

Authoritative parents take time to listen to and acknowledge their children. They do not act dismissive or demeaning, even when the child’s views or opinions seem unfounded or “out of line.” It is not a quick-fix solution for behavioral issues and requires both patience and time. 

Key Differences Between Authoritarian and Authoritative Parenting

In both authoritarian and authoritative parenting, it is the parents who should be setting the limits and enforcing rules. The difference lies in how this is accomplished. 

Parental Attitude

Authoritarian parenting is unresponsive and cold in nature. Parents address emotion as a weakness and resort to punishment or criticism when their child is struggling. 

Authoritative parents, on the other hand, are warm and responsive. By approaching their children in this manner, they can foster positive attachments. This is often associated with higher levels of confidence. 

Authoritative parenting means exerting control over your own emotions to avoid conflict escalation. Rather than reprimanding children for outbursts, parents start calm and constructive discussions. Studies show that kids who grow up in a supportive environment tend to be happier and exhibit more positive behaviors. 


Authoritative and authoritarian parenting styles are similar in one way. They both have high expectations and strict rules. The difference lies in rule enforcement.  

Authoritarian parents do not allow their children to ask questions. They expect children to follow rules in compliant silence.

This attitude often causes children to be anxious and insecure. It can also lead to misunderstandings when rules are not entirely clear.  

Authoritative parenting involves a warm and nurturing approach. Parents explain rules in detail and support them with reasons. Authoritative parenting encourages children to ask questions if they don’t understand or agree.

In turn, children learn to think critically, communicate with confidence, and feel included. 


Authoritative parenting involves holistic consequences, such as computer restrictions or limited activity. Authoritarian parenting often resorts to demeaning or harsh punishment. Parents exert more control over their children but are less effective in their follow-through.

On the other hand, authoritative parents often set higher standards. They are more consistent when following through with discipline. They use inductive discipline, which encourages their child’s prosocial behavior and empathy. 


Parents who default to an authoritarian strategy often lose control of their emotions. They may resort to yelling, name-calling, or scolding to achieve order and control. Communication is unidirectional, with the parent doing the speaking and the child remaining silent.

Authoritative parents often set their emotions aside. They look at each situation as a learning opportunity. These parents encourage open discussion, which helps their children feel supported and included. 


Authoritarian parents try to over-control or micromanage their children. Control over behavior is often not enough. They need to have emotional control as well to feel secure in their parental role.

This parenting style is like a dictatorship in that it relies on fear. It is a one-way street. Whatever the parent says is right and should be listened to and believed without question or protest. 

This is different from authoritative parenting, where standards remain high, but children have leeway to make their own choices and mistakes. Control is not the ultimate goal. Parents focus on fostering independence and the ability to self-regulate, only offering corrections when necessary.  

Authoritarian vs. Authoritative: Effects on Children

Authoritarian parents tend to be less involved in their children’s lives. They set expectations and wait for them to be followed with obedience. This has the potential to backfire in more ways than one. 

Children raised under authoritarian parenting tend to be insecure and self-deprecating. They are prone to bullying, disruptive behaviors in school, and depression. Some find academic success, but in general, their performance is lacking. 

Children with authoritative parents often achieve higher grades and success at school. This is likely because parent involvement correlates with higher performance

Kids with authoritative parents also tend to have better self-esteem and mental health. They show high levels of resilience, picking themselves up with ease after a setback. These kids are better able to self-regulate and make decisions independent of their parents’ influence.  

Which Parenting Strategy Is Better? 

Many studies support authoritative parenting as the more effective parenting strategy. Children raised under an authoritarian thumb are more likely to have mental-health issues and poor peer relations. 

But if authoritarian parenting is so counterproductive, why do some parents still resort to it? 

The answer is that old habits die hard. People raised by authoritarian parents often fall into the habits they picked up from their parents.

Another reason is that authoritarian parenting feels easier. Losing your temper is simple, but maintaining control when you’re frustrated takes practice. Even parents raised in an authoritative household can struggle.

The fact of the matter is no one is perfect. We all make mistakes or lose our temper from time to time. The important thing is to recognize those mistakes when they happen.

Learn from your errors and be transparent about them with your children. Not only does this set a good example, but it encourages attachment behaviors and positive relationships.   

Tips for Authoritative Parenting

You might be new to the authoritative parenting style. Perhaps you have been practicing it for years. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, these tips will help take your strategy to the next level. 


Take time to listen to your child. Don’t ask how their day went, then start checking emails on your phone. Remain engaged.

What your child has to say may not always seem important to you. To them, it might feel like a matter of life and death. Staying connected and attentive makes them feel heard and appreciated.


Children are not born with a complete vocabulary and understanding of their emotions. It is your job to help them recognize their feelings, name them, and understand their connection to behavior. 

Acknowledge that whatever they are experiencing is acceptable. Avoid saying things like, “stop crying,” or “don’t be a baby.” These are very invalidating statements that leave them feeling vulnerable and insecure. 

Instead, focus on the behaviors, not the feelings. Being angry is okay and normal. Hitting, kicking, and biting, however, are not acceptable.

Make sure you discuss the difference with your kids. 

Be Clear

Some rules are non-negotiable. These might be age-restricted rules, they might be educational, or perhaps they are family-wide rules. The important thing is to be clear about why these rules are in place.

“Don’t stick your finger in the light socket.”

To an adult, this is a reasonable and logical rule, but to a child, it’s like telling them they can’t open a new present. So, give them a reason. Even if they don’t understand that electrocution can kill, it will hold more weight than a generic, “because I said so.” 

Use the One-Warning System

When you are straightforward with your children, then there is no room for doubt about expectations. So, consequences should also come as no surprise.

Be careful not to leap to serious punishment, especially for minor infractions like not doing their housework on time. Instead, start with a clear warning. “If you don’t take the trash out before dinner, then you won’t get to play Minecraft with your friends later.” 

Not only have you reiterated the expectation, but you have established a tangible consequence. Now, you must follow through.

If your child fails to take the trash out, then you should not let the occasion slide. This teaches them that your words are hollow. In the future, they are less likely to listen, and you are less likely to remain calm and understanding. 

Offer Incentives

Incentives are excellent for encouraging motivation. These can be anything from a sticker for doing their chores to money put towards a family road trip fund. 

Incentives, however, are two-sided. If your child fails to hold up their end of the bargain, then you can’t give in to their crocodile tears and tantrums. On the flip side, if they do follow through, you better deliver on your end of the bargain.

Whenever you use incentives in authoritative parenting, be sure the expectations are realistic for all parties involved.  

Allow Choices and Encourage Self-Regulation 

If you decide everything for your child, they might struggle to make their own choices later in life. Even little things like, “do you want cereal or toast,” teach them to think for themselves. 

This can also be used when it comes to discipline and behavior management. Encourage your children to find ways to manage their emotions, such as going for a walk or taking deep breaths. 

Encouraging self-regulation makes your child more independent. Instead of scolding them for forgetting to do something, make a checklist or schedule to help them remember. Have them run through the list each day and reward them for their consistency. 

Focus on What You Can Do

Co-parenting with no communication, or with minimal communication, is extremely challenging. It is important to accept that you won’t always have control over what happens when your child is away.

Even when parents stay happily married, there are many times when discipline is out of your hands. When your child goes to school or over to a friend’s house, you must relinquish control. 

Don’t lose your nerve and give up on being a better authoritative parent just because your ex-spouse is uncooperative. Even having one authoritative household in their life will help improve your child’s well-being and set them up for success. 

Maintain Healthy Relationships

You are not here to be your child’s best friend. They don’t always have to like you or even listen to you. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive and healthy relationship with your kids. 

Being an authoritative parent is about setting a good example and following through with expectations. It involves showing love, affection, and support. By setting clear boundaries and treating your child with respect, you will help them be a more successful and happy human. 

One Day at a Time

Authoritarian parenting is all about control, dominance, and silence. It can leave children feeling inadequate, insecure, and depressed. Authoritative parenting is a better style to implement in your home. 

Children raised with an authoritative parent are more successful in school and life. Foster a good and healthy relationship with your children. Set clear boundaries, practice listening, and be supportive. 

Establishing consistent rules and parenting styles can be difficult when you are divorced. At 2houses, we help separated parents work together to enhance their children’s well-being. Click here to learn more about how 2houses can help your family. 

A Co-Parenting Guide on What the 70/30 Custody Schedule Looks Like

70/30 custody schedule

Every separated parent worries about the best method to co-parenting. But what’s the best way to manage your joint custody schedule?

The 70/30 custody schedule is a popular method for many reasons, including the fact that it allows parents to have one main home base for their children. It also works well when one parent lives farther away.

If you’re considering your ideal co-parenting schedule, the 70/30 custody schedule might be best for you! What does it entail? Keep reading to learn more in this guide.

What Is the 70/30 Custody Schedule and Why Is It So Popular?

This child custody schedule allows a child to spend 70% of their time staying with one parent. The child then spends 30% of their time with the other parent, and both adults are able to be involved with their child’s life and time.

Since one parent will spend more time with their child, this schedule usually works best if parents live far from each other. This way, you can limit the number of transitions for your child from one person’s home to another.

This schedule might also be best if you have one parent who is busier than the other. This might be because one parent has a more demanding work life, or because they are traveling more often. The parent with the consistent home base and who has 70% of their child’s time at their home is considered the “primary” parent.

Developing the right schedule that works for your family can be a difficult process, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience! When two parents are committed to finding a schedule that will give their child the best of a consistent and happy lifestyle, the logistics become just another detail to sort out.

How Many Overnights Can You Expect?

One important logistic for both parents and for their child is the amount of overnights they can expect with the 70/30 joint schedule.

This schedule works out to 4 overnights for the non-primary parent. This ends up being more time than the “every other weekend” schedule.

There are several common schedules that can be used to work out a 70/30 custody arrangement. However, there are several important factors to consider when choosing which schedule will work best for you and your family.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Schedule

The first factor to discuss with your co-parent is consistency. What is the best method for making sure your child has a consistent home life? At the same time, how can both parents have a consistent schedule for their work and individual lives?

Another discussion you may want to have with your co-parent is about hand-offs and general communication. It’s so important for separated parents to be able to discuss the best methods of handing off their children for an easier and happier time.

You might also want to discuss your child’s routine. Does your co-parenting schedule fit with your child’s other life routines, like day-care or sports?

More importantly, your child will be spending time away from each parent, so it’s important to factor this into your schedule when deciding how to split up their time.

Common Schedules For Sharing Time

The 70/30 parenting schedule can be set up in several ways. There are four common methods for this schedule, including the every weekend schedule, a 5-2 alternate weekend schedule, a third week schedule, and a schedule for every third day.

Keep reading for a full breakdown of what each of these schedules entails.

The Every Weekend Schedule

This schedule would allow the primary parent to have weekdays while the other parent has weekends. This does leave the non-primary parent with less time, but the every weekend schedule does allow for a lot of consistency.

Also, depending on the child’s age, they might be in school during the week. Handing off the child every weekend helps to not break up the school schedule.

This is also a helpful schedule because the non-primary parent might have more time with the child on the weekends since they don’t have to be in school. This can help make up for the time difference.

The every weekend schedule also works for families with one parent that works or travels on the weekends, but it certainly isn’t the only option.

5-2 Alternate Weekend Schedule

Another method of working out a 70/30 custody schedule is with a more flexible version of the weekend schedule. This is a great option if both parents are hoping to spend time with their children over the weekends, or if one parent is hoping to have some free weekends.

A 5-2 alternate weekend schedule means that you start on any day of the week and five nights are with the primary parent and two nights are with the other parent.

This schedule will depend on what is best for your child, and might be best if your child is younger than school age. That way, their normal routines are less interrupted and each parent can spend time with their child during more formative years.

Every 3rd Week Schedule

This schedule is best for parents who want to spend longer periods of time with their child. By using this schedule, your child will live with the primary parent for two weeks and then the secondary parent for the third week.

This schedule would mean that the second parent is going to go two weeks without being with their child. This may not be best for some families. However, if one parent lives farther away and the child is not school-age, this could be a great option.

When considering this schedule for a school-age child, you want to make sure both parents live close enough to the school and to the child’s activities. This will help reduce interruptions in your child’s life.

This is also where communication is key between each co-parent. Since the child will be spending a bigger chunk of time with one parent, it’s important to talk about what happened while the child was with each parent.

If your child is young enough, they might hit some milestones while in the custody of one parent, like crawling or talking. This can be an exciting time for both parents with a lot of communication involved.

If your child is older, personality will also help you decide if this is the right schedule. Your child might enjoy spending a lot of time with each parent, or they might struggle with being away from one parent for too many days or weeks. This could cause anxiety, so discussing it with your child could be a helpful strategy.

Every Third Day Schedule

The last common version of the 70/30 schedule is frequently transitioning the child to each parent every third day. This will only work if your child can handle traveling between parents this often.

With this schedule, the primary parent, or Parent A, will have the child for two days, and then the other parent, or Parent B, will be with them for one day. The child will then go back to Parent A.

This can be especially easy if the parents live close to each other and have similar work schedules. It’s also important for you to have a good relationship with your ex-partner, since this type of schedule involves a lot of communication and transitions.

It can be challenging to pick the right schedule that will work best for your child. While each schedule is a viable option, it’s important to understand which one is best for your particular situation.

70/30 Joint Custody Schedule for Based on Age

Your child’s age is an important factor in deciding the right custody schedule for your family. If your child is an infant, it will be important for them to be with their mother for more of the time, especially if the child is breast-fed.

This also means that any schedule involving a lot of time away from the primary parent might not be best if you have a baby. A schedule like the every third day schedule might be best so that the child isn’t away from the mother for more than one night at a time.

If your child is a toddler, there’s a bit more flexibility in what they might be able to handle. The every weekend schedule is usually popular for toddlers since it’s consistent and allows the child to know what to expect. This type of consistency also helps a toddler to adapt to parent separation.

For older children who are in school, you might want to work with your co-parent to consider a schedule that will fall in line with your child’s school and activities. If one parent lives farther away and your child has sports or other activities on the weekends, the 5-2 alternate weekend schedule could work out.

Also, since your child’s needs will change as they get older, your schedule can also change. Staying in frequent communication with your co-parent will allow you to discuss what’s best for your child during different phases of life. This will also keep you both flexible and willing to adapt to your child’s needs.

What Else Should You Know Before Choosing a Schedule?

Other than age, you may have more things to consider before you settle on a 70/30 schedule, like making sure you’re following your state’s laws. While parents are able to choose which schedule works best, it’s important that they make sure they’re following the child custody laws in their state.

Additionally, other than meeting your child’s needs based on the school schedule, you also want to meet your child’s emotional, physical and developmental needs. For example, if you have a teenager, their social schedule will also be an important factor for consideration.

Previously in this article, I’ve also mentioned that location can affect what schedule works best. If parents live close together, they can have a schedule that involves more frequent exchanges for the child.

If one parent lives in another state, things might get more complicated for your 70/30 schedule. Creating balance and maintaining consistency remain important but become more difficult if your child will be traveling farther. Also, keep in mind that both parents will want to understand each state’s laws to keep making sure you’re following the rules.

What If You Can’t Agree on a 70/30 Schedule?

The best case scenario would put you and your co-parent in the best positions to be raising your child. In this ideal situation, you can communicate easily and your child is able to transition to follow the joint custody schedule with ease.

However, some parents, especially separated parents, have trouble putting their differences aside and finding the right parenting agreement and schedule that works for everyone. If you’re unable to make an agreement, you might need to rely on a standard custody agreement.

This type of agreement will give the non-custodial parent one evening a week. This parent will also have every other weekend with the child. The rest of the time will be spent with the custodial-parent, also known as the primary parent. 

Clearly it would be best for both parents to be involved in making the decision, and finding a more customized agreement. This way, you can also adjust the agreement easier as your child ages.

Get Help Organizing Your 70/30 Custody Schedule

Developing the right 70/30 custody schedule for family can be challenging. It’s important to consider all the important factors when deciding what will work best, but you can also get help to make organizing your schedule easier!

Check out the 2houses co parenting app for more help creating your schedule and staying on top of your custody planning.

How Dads Can Take Care of Their Mental Health When Co-Parenting

Mental health

Co-parenting isn’t always smooth for everyone. Each co-parenting dynamic is different for each set of parents, meaning some situations are more challenging to navigate than others. Although disagreements over scheduling or subtle tension between yourself and your ex-partner may not seem like a big deal at first, constantly dealing with that underlying stress can take a significant toll on your mental health.

As June is Men’s Health Month, it’s essential to bring awareness to all aspects of men’s health, including mental well-being. Keep reading to learn more about how dads can stay mentally strong when co-parenting. But first, let’s take a look at the connection between men and mental well-being.

Men and Mental Health

Although society is making more ground in the mental health space, there is still a lot of work to be done. Stigmas surrounding mental health, especially for men, are still very prevalent. A lot of it stems from the assumption that “masculine” men shouldn’t ask for help and handle things independently. To ask for help is perceived as “weak.” Due to this stereotype, amongst many others, men are less likely to schedule doctor’s appointments. According to a survey done by Cleveland Clinic, 72 percent of men would rather do household chores, like cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn, than go to the doctor.

This is a problem as you cannot always deal with specific physical or mental health issues on your own. Consulting a trusted medical professional to help you develop a plan of action can help you address and sort out whatever is ailing you. Taking care of your mental health is extremely important if you have children seeing as it can affect everything from their development to their own mental health.

How Mental Health Affects The Kids

Mood Issues

It’s a common saying that kids are like sponges, and that isn’t necessarily wrong. Kids, especially young ones, soak up a lot of what their parents say and do, as well as how they feel. If you’re struggling mentally, whether you mean to or not, you may be passing your struggles off unknowingly on to your child. While mental disorders are not contagious, that doesn’t mean your child’s mood may not take a hit. Being around a parent who isn’t functioning at full capacity because of mental health struggles isn’t easy on anyone, let alone the child. Being with someone through the ups and downs of their health can be very taxing and affect their own mental health as long-term stress is usually a catalyst.

Behavioral Problems

A CDC article states that at least 1 in 4 children have a caregiver with mental health difficulties, meaning kids are more exposed to mental health issues than people may realize. If your child is acting out, it may be a result of your poor mental health. The helplessness children feel when they cannot help their parents, who are struggling mentally, can sometimes feel consuming and make them wonder what they’re doing wrong. Constantly feeling like things are out of their control or believing that they are the cause of your mental distress can result in them acting in ways that they normally would not.

How Mental Health Affects You

Your Self-Esteem

Mental health and self-esteem sometimes go hand in hand. When you’re dealing with bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression, it’s common for negative thoughts to take over. As a dad, you may feel like you aren’t being a good enough parent or feel like you’re not good enough in general. Thoughts and feelings like this only serve to make your mental well-being worse, creating a cycle of negativity. Not only does stress affect the emotional side of things, but it can also affect more minor things that impact your self-esteem, like your hair, skin, and overall body image. For many, their appearance is their primary source of confidence, and when things are off, it can really affect you. Self-esteem and confidence issues can cause eating disorders, unhealthy lifestyle choices, and more.

Higher Risk For Disease

Mental illness is also usually a result of long periods of stress without reprieve during that time. This can put you at a higher risk of developing diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease since excessive stress is linked to a variety of health problems. If these problems are left unchecked, they can severely impact your quality of life causing you not to be able to function on the level that you’d like. Additionally, those who struggle with mental health may have a higher likelihood of turning to unhealthy outlets such as drugs and alcohol. This only serves to make matters worse as vices like alcohol worsen mood and health over time and only provide monetary satisfaction. This also won’t help your co-parenting situation, as excessive alcohol use is not conducive to a healthy home environment for your child.

Affects Co-Parenting

Mental health symptoms in men don’t always look like what is deemed “common” symptoms. For example, men who experience conditions like depression are often aggressive, angry, and/or irritable. While your mental health battles may cause your mood to fluctuate, your ex-partner may not know that. To them, you may seem like you’re in a never-ending bad mood, which can cause tension between the two of you. Tension often leads to a disagreement which isn’t ideal for people in a co-parenting relationship since you want to provide a healthy environment for your child or children. With that being said, while you don’t need to tell your ex-partner what you’re going through specifically, you still need to hold yourself accountable. If you are acting unlike yourself or feeling more irate than normal and it’s affecting your ability to co-parent, it’s your job to take the steps necessary to get the help you need.

Take Some Time

It won’t hurt to take some time for yourself every now and then. Many parents feel guilty when they’re spending time on or with their children, but they shouldn’t. Self-care is an integral part of overall wellness, including mental health. Sometimes your everyday life stressors like co-parenting can feel overwhelming, and you may need a break from it. On one of your off days away from your child, schedule some “me” time. Me time can mean a range of things and can be anything that you want. Men tend to shy away from self-care because of the notion that it’s all facials and bath bombs, however, it is not. While that may be self-care to some, it’s not what it has to look like for you. Your self-care day may look like taking a scenic drive or picking yourself up some of your favorite restaurant food. No matter what it is, take joy in doing something that is stress-free. This will give you much-needed time to rejuvenate before you see your child again.

Solutions To Try

Seeing as sometimes co-parenting may involve custody hearings, making sure your mental health is in optimal condition is essential. You need to show that you are mentally fit enough to take care of your child, so if co-parenting is the source of your mental distress, you should try and rectify the situation sooner rather than later.

Let It Go

A lot of the time, the tension between two parents comes from their previous relationship with each other. Depending on what happened, it can sometimes be hard to move on from situations despite having a child with that person. Every time you see them it can bring forward a bunch of emotions that you may not want to think about. However, sometimes releasing that anger or hurt is the best thing for you. Holding onto those negative feelings can lead to resentment building within the relationship, which doesn’t help you. It can be damaging to your mental well-being and it isn’t good for your child to see, hear or feel constant tension between you and your ex-partner. While it may be easier said than done to start things fresh, you should try to make an effort for your child. Because the most important thing is making sure your child has the best upbringing that they possibly can.

Talk Your Ex-Partner

This can mean a lot of different things depending on your situation. If you currently have a strenuous relationship with your ex-partner, try talking things out with them and coming to a truce. Don’t underestimate the power of a respectful and level-headed conversation. If you think you’re going to struggle to have a decent conversation with your ex-partner, consider getting a third party involved. A mediator can help you to have a productive conversation, and get things on the right track. Alternatively, if you still don’t want to see your ex-partner, you may benefit from tools that help separated parents communicate without being in-person to help mitigate potential problems. Aside from that, talking to your co-parent may also mean divulging when you need help. If you’re having a difficult time and need some time to work things out, let your ex-partner know so you can both come up with a plan that works best for your child.

Gain Confidence

Regain confidence in yourself and your parenting skills. With a lot of aspects of self-esteem, you have to remind yourself that you’re trying your best and that you are enough. Whether this means thinking positively about your parenting abilities or your overall life, make sure you remember the good you’re doing. Also, don’t forget to gain confidence in other aspects of your life too, since it can increase overall happiness. Struggling with your physical appearance can have a toll on your confidence, which can affect your overall well-being, so don’t let your insecurities run the show. Take charge and reinvent yourself. That new suit you wanted? Buy it and walk around confidently. Are you tired of your hair or lack thereof? Go to a salon or use a hair loss treatment to help make you feel like a new person. Whatever it may be, make sure you’re doing things that make you happy and gaining that confidence back to be the best parent you can be.

See A Therapist

Going to see a therapist is highly stigmatized. A lot of times people feel shameful if they seek out professional help as if there’s something wrong with it—there isn’t. Taking care of your mental health should never feel shameful or embarrassing. It will only serve to help improve your relationship with your ex-partner and better the upbringing for your child and that’s the most important thing. If you’ve never been to a therapist before, make sure you do your research. You want to make sure you’re going to someone who is professional and has your best interest at heart. Also, don’t feel as if you have to stay with one of your first, second, or even third therapist. You can switch as many times as you’d like until you find the right one.

Final Thoughts

Never be afraid to tell someone you trust about what you’re going through, no matter how big or small it may seem. Letting things out and letting someone know that you’re struggling is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Sometimes all you need is a listening ear and someone to say that they understand. If you aren’t comfortable talking to a professional or a loved one, consider reaching out to an online support group to talk to people going

What Does a 80/20 Custody Schedule Look Like? A Guide for Parents


Parenting is hard. Co-parenting is even harder.

Co-parenting is a term used for any separated, divorced, or “two house” families trying to raise a child or children together. With around half of all modern marriages ending in divorce, co-parenting is used more than ever. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to co-parent, and many previous couples struggle with it.

One of the biggest challenges co-parents face is establishing a custody schedule that works for them. In many situations, a judge will have a lot of say in who the primary residence or primary custodial parent is. However it works out, some parenting time plans work out to something known as an 80/20.

But what is an 80/20 custody schedule? What does it look like? Continue reading to learn everything you need to about this specific type of custody schedule.

What’s an 80/20 Custody Schedule?

An 80/20 schedule is when a child (or children) spends 80 percent of their time with one parent and 20 percent of their time with the other. In these situations, one parent usually has primary physical custody. However, this type of custody schedule may also be used when the arrangement is sole physical custody with scheduled visitation.

Determining the percentage parenting time amounts to can be confusing. For this type of agreement, it generally works out so the non-custodial parent has three overnight visits every two weeks. Those visits don’t have to be consecutive, but they can be.

How the 80/20 custody schedule works best will depend on several factors. Primary factors include:

  • The age of the child (or children)
  • How far apart the parents live from one another
  • How involved each parent was in caring for the children before separation
  • If the courts are involved, what type of determination they’ve made

There may be other factors to consider in your unique case. Below you can see a few examples of typical 80/20 parenting schedules to help get a better idea of what this looks like in practice.

80/20 Custody Examples

It’s essential to know all custody agreements can be individualized. Using a mediator through court, along with a co-parenting app, can help the two parents figure out what works best for them.

That being said, there are a few recommended options for setting up an 80/20 schedule, based on the child’s age and how close the parents live. These schedules can be used exactly or as a reference to create a similar plan that works best for your situation.

When Parents Live Near Each Other

When parents live near each other, there’s more flexibility in how custody schedules can be set up. The closer parents live, the more flexibility. For these options to work, parents would ideally live an hour or less away from one another.Toddlers/Until School (Around Age 4 to 5)

Toddlers benefit from frequent contact with the non-custodial parent whenever possible. This is because toddlers (and even preschoolers) are still developing bonds with both parents. Before starting school, it’s recommended toddlers see the non-custodial parent for three non-consecutive overnights every two weeks.

The overnights can be scheduled in a way that best works for both parents. Generally, however, one overnight each weekend usually works well. The third overnight is usually scheduled for a weekday, once every two weeks.

This may not work for every parent, however. Parents who work early mornings Monday through Friday may find weekday overnights difficult. There are ways to work around this.

The non-custodial parent could, for example, pick the child up after work on a weekday. They could then be brought home before bedtime instead of being kept overnight. It isn’t recommended that toddlers stay two consecutive nights away from the custodial parent.Older Children/Teenagers

Once children are older, they can successfully move to every other weekend visitation. Older children and teenagers do well with these schedules because they’ve already built strong bonds with both caretakers. In most circumstances, their bond with the non-custodial parent won’t be affected by more extended periods apart.

With an 80/20 custody schedule, three overnights every other weekend is the general rule. For parents who live close together, Friday evening until Monday may work well.

This would, however, put the non-custodial parent in charge of dropping the child at school on Monday morning. If that isn’t possible due to work conflicts, every other weekend from Friday until Sunday is one option. Using a co-parenting app can help ease confusion about when each parent is available and how much quality time they spend with the child or children.

When Parents Live Further Apart

When parents live further apart, custody schedules can be more challenging to create. This is especially true when children are younger and do best without extended stays away from the custodial parent. However, each child is unique, and what works for one family may not be best for another.Toddlers/Until School (Around Age 4 to 5)

Until children begin school, long-distance parenting plans may do well with one overnight each weekend. While similar to the schedule mentioned earlier, there is one significant difference. The one overnight during a weekday every two weeks is dropped due to distance.

There are ways to make up most (or all) of this missed parenting time without keeping the toddler from the custodial parent for more than one night.

One option is to use a slightly later drop-off time when the child is with their alternate parent. If the regular drop-off time would be 10 am on Sunday, the schedule can be rearranged to have a drop-off at 5 pm on Sunday. This adds 7 hours each week to the non-custodial parent’s time, thus making up most of the missed weekday visit mentioned above.Older Children/Teenagers

The same schedule that works for older children and teenagers above can work with long-distance parenting, with very few modifications. Instead of staying from Friday until Monday of every other weekend, teens should be returned Sunday, so they’re ready for school in the morning.

Another long-distance option for older children and teenagers is two weekends on and one weekend off. In this custody schedule, the children spend two weekends with the non-custodial parent, followed by a weekend with the custodial parent. If either parent wanted a specific weekend during the year, this could be worked into the schedule.

When an 80/20 Might Be the Best Choice for You

There are many custody schedule options. Much of how custody is determined will depend on what the courts say and the schedules of each parent. Sometimes, custody can be worked out between two parents.

That being said, there are specific circumstances where an 80/20 custody schedule may be the best choice for you. These include:

  • When one parent was granted primary physical custody
  • When one parent has sole physical custody and the other parent has scheduled visitation
  • When one parent is unable to spend more time with the children for any reason
  • When parents live further apart
  • One parent has been the primary or sole caregiver of the children during the relationship (or during the children’s lives if parents weren’t together)
  • Both parents agree on an 80/20 custody schedule
  • The child or children do best with a single home base
  • The child or children have special needs that make frequent transitions difficult

This isn’t an all-inclusive list. There may be other reasons for choosing an 80/20 custody schedule over other options. There are also many reasons why an 80/20 custody schedule may not be the best option for you.

An 80/20 split in parenting time may not be suitable for your situation if:

  • The non-custodial parent has more time to spend with the child
  • The courts have appointed joint custody to the parents
  • Both parents were equally involved in the child’s care before separation
  • Both parents agree a different custody schedule would work best
  • Parents live in different states or countries (which requires a very different schedule)

Frequently Asked Questions About the 80/20 Custody Schedule

It’s normal to have questions about the 80/20 custody schedule and custody arrangements in general. Below are answers to a few of the most common questions or concerns parents have.

Does Parenting Time Have To Be Exactly 80/20 in These Arrangements?

No, parenting time doesn’t have to be exactly 80/20. However, it’ll fall roughly around those numbers. Depending on the custody schedule, parenting time may be 82/18, 76/24, or something else that is close to 80/20.

Is an 80/20 Schedule the Only Option for Separated Parents?

No. There are many different custody schedule options for parents, with the 80/20 parenting time split being one. Different custody schedules work for different families.

Some parents have a 50/50 custody schedule where the child spends an equal amount of time with each. Others have a 70/30 parenting agreement that usually works out to one parent having weekdays and the other having weekends. It’s up to the two parents and the courts to determine which custody agreement works best for everyone.

What if I Want More Than 20 Percent Time With My Child?

If you’re the non-custodial parent in an 80/20 schedule and want more time with the child, it depends on whether the courts made the custody determination. If the courts determined that custody should be 80/20, you’d need to return and refile to have it changed. If the custody was set up outside of court, you could open up a conversation with your child’s other parent.

What’s the Easiest Way To Set Up a Custody Schedule?

The easiest way to set up a custody schedule is through a co-parenting app, like 2houses. In some situations, it’s necessary to first go to court or mediation to determine the type of custody split. Then, you and your co-parent can choose how that time is split via the application.

What if Something Comes up To Interrupt the Custody Schedule?

Things can (and will) happen to disrupt your custody schedule. These things may be short-term emergencies or long-term life changes. When this happens, it’s best to communicate openly with your co-parent about the situation.

If there’s strife or other issues between you and the other parent, it’s recommended that all contact be documented. This protects both parties from “he said, she said” situations. It also helps make communicating less stressful for both parties.

Documentation can be done in several ways. Co-parenting apps are one option for documented communication. Other options include text messaging and email.

What if There Is a Restraining Order Involved?

When a restraining order is involved, it stops one parent from contacting the other. Sometimes, however, they’ll still share custody of the child in an 80/20 custody schedule or similar. This adds more difficulties to an already challenging situation.

A co-parenting app can be especially useful in this situation. If the courts allow for a singular, documented form of contact specifically about the children, an app is a perfect option. It will enable all conversations to be recorded while still maintaining necessary lines of communication between parents about the child.

More Questions About What an 80/20 Custody Schedule Looks Like?

An 80/20 custody schedule is where a child spends 80 percent of their time with one parent and 20 percent of their time with the other. This works best in certain situations, such as when parents live far apart, or one parent has been granted primary physical custody of the children.

To make any custody agreement work, open communication is essential. After splitting, many parents find communication difficult or impossible. Others find they’d like a more organized way of discussing or presenting custody schedule options.

That’s why 2houses was created. The co-parenting app takes the hassle out of creating a custody schedule and streamlines communication. Sign up today and see for yourself.