Co Parenting a Newborn: How to Do It Successfully

Co Parenting a Newborn

When a relationship ends, making a new parenting arrangement is never easy, especially with an infant. However, discussing your co-parenting plans as soon as possible is necessary. Co-parenting a newborn needs a specific arrangement to meet their needs and nurture their well-being.

During the infant stage, a newborn baby wants to secure attachments to their parents. As they rely on a routine, devising a consistent and stable co-parenting plan is essential.

To ensure your child’s well-being, you and your co-parent must work as a team. Read on to learn how to co-parent a newborn baby.

1. As Divorced Parents, Set Your Feelings Aside

In a divorce, your emotions about the whole situation can range from sadness to anger. This makes it the most challenging when discussing sharing custody. For successful co-parenting, you must set your feelings aside and focus on the need of your child.

Co-parenting isn’t about you and your ex-spouse. You talk about the stability, happiness, and well-being of your child. Although you can feel hurt and angry, never let your feelings control your actions.

Did you know that a newborn baby can absorb what you feel? If you feel stressed, your baby reacts by crying, sneezing, or yawning. With this, never vent your frustration in front of your child.

If you need to relieve the intense emotions, you can call your family, friend, or therapist. Doing activities, such as exercising and journaling, can let off your steam, too. Note that an infant can absorb what you feel despite not showing any aggression.

For effective co-parenting, you must cooperate and communicate with the other parent.

2. Learn to Communicate

Feeling intense emotions is normal after going separate ways with your ex-partner. However, your sadness, anger, and frustration can hinder your planning. If you don’t set your feelings aside, it’s hard to communicate with the other parent.

With this, you need to clear your mind. Note that you’re communicating with your ex-partner for your child’s well-being. Having a peaceful and purposeful talk is vital when co-parenting a newborn.

To prevent any conflict, keep your baby the main topic of every discussion you have with your co-parent. Further, remember that you don’t always need to meet up with your ex-spouse. You can communicate through phone, text, or email about sharing custody.

When communicating, note that your goal is to have conflict-free co-parenting.

3. Remember Your New Roles When Co-Parenting

When you get into a relationship, there are times when you and your partner decide together. You always ask for the opinion and permission of each other on different matters. It’s challenging to work by yourselves when the relationship ends.

As a result of the separation, you must limit your opinion about how the other parent lives. It’s vital in your co-parenting relationship to recognize the issues to get involved in and not. Spending habits and other relationships are out of the question.

However, you can say something about how you must discipline your child. Acknowledging the roles and boundaries is hard. Although challenging, talking about these issues can establish a good co-parenting relationship.

4. Co-Parent as a Team

The mindset of working as a team in co-parenting a newborn is essential. As mentioned, there are matters where you and your co-parent must decide. Having a genial, consistent, and cooperative discussion can lead to effective co-parenting.

When making decisions involving the future welfare of the baby, the parents must talk about it. You and your co-parent must come up with a plan where both contribute. Some matters to discuss are your child’s medical, future education, and financial needs.

To reach an agreement, the parents must be open, honest, and direct about these matters.

Further, when co-parenting a newborn, supporting each other is helpful. For instance, breastfeeding is hard as the divorced parents don’t live together. If you’re the supporting parent, the best thing you can do is to help in nursing the baby.

Although it’s hard, working as a team is vital to reaching the child’s well-being.

5. Develop a Co-Parenting Plan

If you’re sharing custody of your infant with your ex-partner, coming up with a verbal agreement isn’t enough. Developing a contract detailing your co-parenting plan for the newborn baby is vital. A co-parenting plan is a document that states the agreed conditions about how to co-parent.

To make one, you must discuss each parent’s rights and responsibilities for the child. It must include the visitation schedule, decision-making guidelines, and other vital matters. After discussing, you can set your way up to create the conditions.

With a plan, you have structured and clear guidelines for caring for the child. Further, it strengthens your co-parenting relationship. If you build a strong bond with your co-parent, it reduces stress and secures the well-being of the child.

6. Create a Schedule

When co-parenting a newborn, consistency is vital as the infant relies on a routine. Experts encourage divorced parents to be present during infancy through regular visitation. Creating a schedule can help achieve an effective co-parenting plan.

To keep consistent contact, consider the distance and availability of the co-parents. You must not keep the baby away from either parent for several days. For infants, regular visits set expectations and boundaries.

If you’re a non-residential parent, ensure to visit the baby several times a week. When visiting, you must use the time to bond with the infant to familiarize them with your presence. You can feed, soothe, or bathe the newborn if you want.

Further, you must consider the routine and feeding time of the baby when creating a schedule. Arrange visitation and pick-up times, not in conflict with routine or wind-down. When faced with inconsistent events, the baby can start feeling anxious.

7. Make Room to Grow

As the saying goes, change is the only constant thing in life. This applies to co-parenting a newborn as their needs change as they grow. A point comes where plans can no longer meet the child’s needs.

To prevent any issues, the parents must build up the transition into their plan. Instead of using the same schedule and making an abrupt change, easing your way into the new routine is best. If you need help with suitable changes to make, you can ask for help from experts about co-parenting.

An Effective Way For Co-Parenting a Newborn

Co-parenting a newborn is different from caring for other ages. During infancy, there are more needs to meet and factors to consider. With this, you need to develop an effective co-parenting plan to ensure the child’s well-being.

For questions on effective co-parenting, you can visit the 2Houses blog for information. Consider reaching us here for queries about our co-parenting facilitator services.

Scheduling 101: The Coparenting Calendar

Coparenting calendar

When your children are first born, it can feel like every little thing has to be kept track of, including feedings, diaper changes and how often they’re sleeping. As your children get older, you spend a lot less time tracking these types of things, but their schedules are busy in a different way. There are extracurricular activities, sports practice and games, school events and play dates. All of this is plenty when everyone is under the same roof, but it gets even more complicated when you have to share and manage all of this information between two separate households. Here are some tips on how to manage your coparenting calendar for an easier and more streamlined process.

Managing the Calendar

The first step in creating a coparenting calendar that works for your situation is to make a master list of everything you may need to share with the other parent. We’ve covered some of the most common activities and events below, but keep in mind that every situation is different. If your child regularly attends therapy, it’s a good idea for both parents to know when those appointments are. It can also be of benefit to have a daily schedule for young children that’s shared between the two parents so that their routines can be kept similar. This ensures that the children feel safe in both spaces and know what to expect.

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities involve anything from sports and music lessons to debate team and theater. Even with young children, these activities can involve multiple practices a week as well as games, tournaments, and larger competitions. It’s likely that at least some of these activities will need to happen across both parents’ parenting time, so sharing schedules is important. It’s a good idea to ensure that the time, place, and supervising adult is listed on the event. A phone number for the coach or teacher is also a good idea in case you have trouble finding the location or are running late and need to be let into a building.

School Events

From tea with Mom and crazy hair day to Valentine’s boxes and birthday treats, having school-aged children comes with a lot of events and paperwork to keep track of. This can be especially challenging if you have a shared parenting schedule, such as one week on and one week off or 2-2-3 schedule. Sharing all of this information online through a data bank or shared calendar like 2houses offers can ensure everyone knows what’s coming no matter what house the kids are at that day, and it also makes it easier for you to keep track of everything when you can deal with digital information instead of endless paper fliers and notices.

Doctors Visits

Any kind of important appointment for your child should probably be on the shared coparenting calendar, but medical visits are especially important. Many custody agreements require both parents to be notified and to have the chance to be present at doctors visits, and putting it on the calendar as an event lets you do that without having to worry about whether the other parent remembers. You can also include other important information like the phone numbers and a summary of the visit if the parent isn’t able to attend so they can ask the practitioner any questions directly and request medical records.

Sharing Information With the Other Parent

When you’re starting to get everything together for your coparenting calendar, it might feel a little strange to be giving the other parent so much information about your life and where you’re going to be when. But unless there is a safety issue or a restraining order in place, it’s a good idea to think about it in terms of what’s best for the kids and what makes it easier on you. For example, if you have to deal with a lot of texts or calls from the other parent because they can’t remember when practice is or what building the parent teacher conference is in, providing all of that info in a digital format that they can check themselves can cut a lot of that back. It’s also a good way to ensure that everything is communicated in writing to cut down on he said she said situations.

When you’re getting information ready, try to stick to the facts and provide as much information as possible. It’s a good idea to cover all of these basics:

  • Who: Make sure to note which child is involved, which parent’s time the event is happening on and what other people are going to be there that they need to know about.
  • What: Note what the event is and what’s required, such as a uniform, musical instrument or homework assignment.
  • Where: Be as detailed as possible here, providing an exact address that can be put into a GPS and other information such as “Field A” or “Enter through Door 3.”
  • When: Provide start and end times if possible, or let the other parent know that it’s an all-day event so they can think about if they need to bring snacks or plan around other things.

Keeping Track of Information

A digital coparenting app is the gold standard when it comes to communicating the children’s schedules with the other parent, and 2houses has thought of everything you need when developing theirs. In addition to all of the other tools the app offers — from finance trackers to in-app messaging — the calendar has the following features:

  • Color-coded dates to show who has the children when at a glance: Keeping track of which parent the children are with is crucial to knowing who is going to be taking them to events. 2houses lets you automatically create a color-coded version of your custody schedule superimposed into the calendar based on popular schedule breakdowns, or you can create a custom schedule to fit your needs.
  • In-app schedule change requests: This feature lets you ask the parent for a change in the schedule, such as for a family event or holiday, so that there’s a record of the request, receipt of the request, and a record of the other parent’s response. It helps to have everything in writing and ready for documentation purposes if at any time anything has to go before a judge.
  • Import special dates: The calendar makes it easy to load all of your scheduling needs at once, with import features for things like school holidays and vacation schedules. This saves you time and decreases the possibility of input errors.
  • Syncing with most calendar applications: The 2houses calendar app can sync with most popular calendar applications, including Outlook and iCal, so you can have your own copy of the kids’ schedule in one place without having to share your personal information with the other parent or copy dates and events one by one.
  • Calendar sharing: If you need to share your calendar with a third party, such as an attorney, family member, or guardian ad litem, it’s as simple as just a few clicks.

If you’re looking for a way to simplify scheduling and know exactly what’s on the agenda for each day without having to talk to the other parent or make a bunch of phone calls, a coparenting calendar can help. Check out what 2houses has to offer to make the coparenting journey easier.

Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy While You Work at Home During COVID-19

Keep kids busy

When the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, things changed very drastically. Many saw their typical routines turned upside down,  especially with most workplaces requiring remote work while daycare and schools are closed.

Families are spending more time at home together, and all of a sudden, parents faced a situation they deem unprecedented: working from home without access to playdates, babysitters, and Grandma-dates to get them through a snow day or a school break. Understandably, many parents are having a hard time navigating this “new normal.”

While there is no magic bullet that can help ensure everything will always work out according to plan, replicating the predictability and structure your child experiences at school can make a world of difference. Start by creating a routine that will give them some sense of comfort and control.

Many smart parents also incorporated doing household chores in their children’s daily routines. Financially-savvy ones even gave compensation for the help provided through kids debit card. What makes this option enticing is that it allows parents to teach their children how to be responsible and manage their money accordingly at the same time.

Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Quarantine

Below are some fun and creative ways to keep your kids busy during this time of lockdowns and social distancing:

Encourage them to write letters

Do you have a family member living in a nursing or assisted living facility? Social distancing means they won’t be able to see friends or family members in person and hearing from their loved ones would mean a lot to them.

Now’s the perfect time to help kids develop their writing skills (and vocabulary) by encouraging them to write a letter for grandma or grandpa.

You can even ask them to draw something for grandma or grandpa. They’ll be brushing up on their drawing skills while connecting and keeping in touch with their loved ones. Talk about a win-win!

Ask them to build a fort

With some blankets and a few pillows, your child can already create the fort of their dreams. You can challenge them even further and allow them to exercise their creativity by encouraging them to build and make a new fort each day. It will not only keep them busy, it will also help take their mind off being at home the entire day.

Allow them to do an art project

Get those paper, crayons, markers, and pens out, and encourage your kids to create art for you! You can also ask them to create art for friends and loved ones they have not seen and show their art masterpieces through video chats.

Encourage them to learn how to play an instrument

If you have instruments at home, now is the perfect time to encourage your kids to learn how to play them. You can also ask them to learn a specific song they like and ask them to play for the family as soon as you get together.

Get them into the habit of reading

Purchase excellent books for kids online and have your kids pick one they like. Encourage them to form a book club. Have them read a book they like and have a discussion with them about what the book is all about as soon as you get off from work.

To help them develop their reading and comprehension skills, you can also encourage them to explain what they understood. This allows your kids to play teacher while you play a student.

Hold your own show and tell

Show and tell does not have to be limited to the classroom. While you work, have them brainstorm and prepare at least five items for the show and tell. To give the presentation some structure, you can also provide guidelines.

As soon as you stop working, you can start the presentation right away. You can encourage kids to be more creative by giving out prizes for the best presentations.

Conclusion

When it comes to keeping your children entertained during quarantine, thinking outside the box is the best way to go. It will not only make each day fun, it can also help create incredible memories they’ll remember once everything is back to normal.

Joint Custody And Mother’s Day: How To Manage If It’s Daddy’s Turn?

mother's day

Mother’s Day and joint custody present a difficult challenge — if it’s Daddy’s turn, what’s the best way to handle the holiday?

If you think of Mother’s Day as an emotional holiday, you’re not alone. Splitting custody of children is not easy — especially when holidays roll around — but there are ways to make the process smoother.

Check Your Parenting Agreement First

First, brush up on the basics. Check your parenting plan agreement and see if the arrangement includes an exception for Mother’s Day. Most parenting plans will include clauses for special days (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so on).

If you have one, you’re in luck: custody is straightforward when its spelled out in a document. Even if it’s Daddy’s turn for custody, a Mother’s Day exception clause will grant possession for the holiday.

It’s Not Always That Easy

Of course, life is not always so easy. If you check your joint custody agreement and find no exception for Mother’s Day, the best step is to open a dialogue with your former spouse. Take the time to talk to your child’s other parent and see if you can come to an agreeable solution.

At its core, asking for custody over the holiday is a bit like asking for a favor. The father is not legally required to oblige you — keep that in mind! Present your case in a friendly, agreeable manner and try to keep emotions out of it. The moment anger comes into play, the chances of coming to an agreement vanish.

You Might Have Legal Remedies

Even if your parenting agreement does not allow for Mother’s Day custody, check your local state laws and regulations. Some states, like Texas, have statewide provisions that grant mothers possession during the holiday. It’s worth a quick check or phone call with your lawyer to double-check!

Alternatively, you could seek to modify your existing parenting agreement. You can do this by speaking to your lawyer about changing the custodial agreement. This is a big step — and not an easy one — so try to think of it as a last resort. It’s always better to come to an amicable, mutually agreeable solution with your former partner.

What Not To Do

It goes without saying, but always abide by the rules of your parenting agreement. If visitation or custody is not granted during Mother’s Day, stick with the letter of the law. Likewise, if your former partner violates the custody agreement, remember the law is on your side.

A Few Tips For Reaching An Agreement On Joint Custody

Depending on your relationship with the father, reaching an agreement regarding Mother’s Day might be a tall order.

Offer a bit of quid pro quo. Mother’s Day custody in exchange for Father’s Day may work as a compromise. Alternatively, depending on the specifics of your custody agreement, you may be able to ‘swap’ visitation days. In general, try to be accommodating and polite — the more you are willing to work with your former partner, the better.

Offering “make up” weekends is a great way to garner some goodwill with a former spouse as well. Going out of your way to show that your child values time with both parents will be much appreciated!

It’s All About Communication

Mother’s Day is a time when emotions run high and tempers may flare. Dealing with joint custody issues is not easy — even if we wish it were — so take the time to communicate.

See if it’s possible to swap custody days to make room for Mother’s Day. Alternatively, consider offering some “make up” days to sweeten the deal. You may also consider modifying your parenting agreement to include possession on specific holidays.

Whatever path you take, open communication with your child’s other parent is key.

5 Things To Embrace Easter With Kids

Easter with kids

Easter comes at the right time – spring is in full swing, the weather turns for the better, and there’s plenty of fun to be had. If you’re debating how to spend Easter with kids, don’t worry – here are five great activities to consider.

1: Dyeing Eggs for Easter

It’s a classic and for good reason – it’s fun, easy, and makes for great memories. Even better, it doesn’t take much in the way of materials or preparation. Just grab some eggs, your choice of egg dye (many companies sell Easter-specific egg kits), and you’re off to the races.

Of course, egg dyeing can go well beyond a simple color change. Test the limits of your kid’s creativity – challenge them to decorate an egg as their favorite superhero, for example. Glitter, sprinkles, paint, and markers all work to make your eggs really stand out.

Easter with kids - 2houses

2: Easter Egg Hunts

You’ll likely find an egg hunt thrown by your city or local recreation center, but feel free to make your own! Stash some eggs in whatever likely hiding places you can think of (and don’t worry, this works fine indoors) and let the kids loose.

To spice things up, a ‘cheat sheet’ with a few hints is not a bad idea. For example, telling the kids that there are five eggs in the kitchen might have them tearing up cereal boxes, checking the ice tray, and digging around in light fixtures. Of course, they have to clean up the mess they made – Spring cleaning can get a headstart here!

3: Egg Rolling

A handful of eggs, some long-handled spoons, and you’re golden. Egg rolling is a fantastic Easter activity with tons of versatility – traditionally, you’d ‘race’ to see who can roll their egg through the grass the fastest. Plenty of variations exist: eggs rolling and tumbling down a hill is a great (and potentially messy) way to change things up.

easter with kids - 2houses

4: Jelly Beans Galore!

Jelly beans are oddly versatile little treats. Take the traditional “Jelly Bean Guessing Game”, for example. Simply fill a jar with the beans, ask the kids how many there are, and count them up. The winner gets to gorge themselves on one of Easter’s most addictive snacks.

If you’re looking to make things a little more challenging (or potentially yucky!), opt for a twist on the “guess the flavor” game. It’s more than possible to find different sets of jelly beans that come in a range of weird, wacky, and wild flavors. Asking the kids to discern the differences between cherry, strawberry, potato, and ‘stinky socks’ flavors is sure to get some laughs!

5: Get the Yard Involved

Eggs, bunnies, and jelly beans make for a fantastic Easter. However, what about an activity that has a real sense of permanence?

easter with kids - 2houses

Enter the Easter Garden!

If you’re lucky enough to have garden space, Easter is a perfect time to really make the most of it. If you’re limited on space outdoors, a window planter/window box is a fantastic (and affordable) alternative.

Feel free to plant a range of spring fruits and vegetables, but don’t forget the quintessential Easter flower – the white lily. Tulips, daisies, and hyacinths are excellent as well. Throw in some azalea for extra color and, voilà, an Easter garden will be a fixture in your kid’s lives for weeks to come.

Easter Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated

You’ll find that springtime often offers its own solutions – get outside, get active, and let the weather speak for itself. If the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor mischief, every activity listed above can be done indoors (just be careful with the eggs). Stick with some traditional activities and Easter with kids!

First steps on 2houses

2houses home page

You’ve just joined 2houses and can’t find your way around? Here are some explanations to configure your account. 2houses will no longer keep any secrets from you!

Step one : invite my co-parent

When you created your account, you entered the name of your co-parent. To invite him/her, follow this process:

  1. Go to “My Family
  2. Click on “Members
  3. Click on the key below your co-parent’s name

first step 2houses

When you click on the key, you just have to enter the co-parent’s email address. You can write a personal message or you can send a pre-written invitation by 2houses.

Finally, when you want to verify if the co-parent did accept your request, you just have to return to the “My family” page and you will be able to see if the co-parent accepted your invitation or not.

Not applicable if you’re the invited co-parent.

Step 2 : Create a parenting schedule

To create your first custody calendar:

  1. Go to the page “Calendar”
  2. Then in the subcategory, select “Parenting schedules
  3. Click on “Create a parenting schedule” or “Create my first parenting schedules.” Both choices will take you to the same page.

first step 2houses

Once you clicked on that button, choose the model that suits you.

first step 2houses

Or, compose your schedule manually. Select the days and the parent to personalize your planning.

first step 2houses

Step 3 : Create a holidays schedule

Just like the “joint custody” calendar you need to follow these steps:

  1. Go to “Agenda
  2. Click on “Parenting schedules
  3. Click on “Create a parenting schedule

frist step 2houses

Then, just as you did for joint custody schedule, select the child concerned and select “create yours manually.

first step 2houses

Once this is done, give your schedule a name, and insert the start and end dates. Then click on the first day of the week and say where the child will spend the night. Repeat this until the desired date. If you want to add an extra week, click on «add a week.» If this schedule does not repeat, press «Do not repeat and apply until …» If necessary, press «Repeats until …» When you have established your schedule, click on «Create this parenting schedule.»

first step 2houses

The vacation schedule will overlay the standard schedule on the agreed dates. See: lexicon p.10. from the PDF.

Step 4 : Create a change request

To create your change request, click on:

  1. Calendar
  2. Change requests
  3. Create a change request

first step 2houses

Select the parent and a date. Add a note if you want to. Once you entered all of the information, click on “Create this change request.”

first step 2houses

Once this step is done, you will see the change request in your calendar.
In this case, the change request hasn’t been accepted yet by the co-parent. That’s why both of the schedules are visible.

first step 2houses

Step 5 : Create an event

When you’re on the dashboard:

  1. Click on “Calendar
  2. Then on the subdivision “Event
  3. Finally on “Create an event

first step 2houses

When you click on that button, you will arrive on the event page. Fill in what’s asked. You can choose this event to be recurring.

You also can choose this event to happen only once.

first step 2houses

Once you configure your event, click on “Create this event.

first step 2houses

Step 6 : Create an expense

To create an expense, please follow these steps:

  1. Click on “Finances
  2. Then on the subdivision “expenses
  3. Finally on “Report a new expense

first step 2houses

When you’re on the expenses page, fill in the price, the date, and the reason. Then, for the category, if you don’t have any yet, click on “create a new category.

For the category, fill in the title, the share proportion, and if you want to, an explanation note. Click on “create a category.

first step 2houses

You now can fill in all of the other details of the expense. You also can attach a file (the picture of your receipts, for example).

first step 2houses

If your expense is subject to an external reimbursement (ex: health service), click on “subject to a reimbursement” and tell the beneficiary.

first step 2houses

Finally, click on “Report this expense” and don’t forget that the beneficiary of the reimbursement will need to encode this reimbursement once he/ she receives it. A blue notification will appear until the reimbursement is done. You can encode it via the double arrow.

first step 2houses first step 2houses

2houses has no longer secret to you now!

Printable PDF version available here :

PDF 2houses – first step 2houses – EN version

Getting Over A Break Up: 5 Tips On How To Deal With Mutual Friends After Your Separation

getting over a break up

The end of your marital relationship doesn’t spell the end of your relationships with your mutual friends. It might seem daunting or confusing, but maintaining healthy connections with the people in your life is part of moving forward.

If you’re interested in getting over a break up, this article is for you. Divorce is between you and your former spouse — mutual friends are definitely feasible post-divorce!

1: It’s Not About Sides

Divorces, even the most amicable ones, can place a serious strain on mutual friends. If your first inclination is to try to “divide up” your mutual friends, try to think positively. True friends respect each others’ choices. The more you attempt you try to persuade mutual friends to take sides, the more stress you put on your relationships.

Remember why you’re friends in the first place. You enjoy each other’s company — keep it that way!

2: Keep a Positive Attitude When Getting Over a Break Up

Think about it from your friend’s perspective. That person wants to remain friends with both you and your ex. It’s better to keep the drama and gossip of your previous relationship away from mutual friends.

Not only does gossip always come back to haunt you, but you’ll garner a lot of goodwill by keeping it respectful. Focus on enjoying the friendships you’ve made over everything else.

3: Yes, Some Losses Are Normal

Take a deep breath. It’s unlikely that you’ll remain friends with everyone in your mutual friend circle. It’s perfectly normal and healthy for some friendships to be contingent on “pairs” — you and your ex, for example — so don’t fret if some friends drift away.

We all have people in our lives that naturally fade away; it’s a part of life.

In that same vein, don’t expect to remain amazing friends with your ex’s best friend! Your friends will naturally gravitate towards their preferred relationships. Let it happen and enjoy the relationships that you keep.

4: Communication Is Key

It might be a bit of a cliche, but communication really is key. If possible, communicate with your mutual friends to see if your ex will appear at social gatherings. Ask yourself if you’re okay with seeing your former spouse at a social event. If you’d rather limit contact, that’s great — you should feel zero pressure here. If you’d prefer to live completely separate lives, communicate that to your friend group.

After all, your friends are autonomous, intelligent, and capable people. Make it clear whether or not you’d like to see your ex at events. Your friends will keep you in the loop.

Of course, if possible, sit down with your former spouse. Discuss which friendships you know you want to keep. If your ex is adamant about ‘splitting’ friends, keep an open mind and communicate your wishes clearly.

5: Be Adaptable

Above all else, be adaptable. After a breakup or divorce, mutual friends will inevitably shift. Some relationships will end, some will become stronger. Stay flexible and realize that your friends are independent people with lives outside of your breakup!

Let them live their lives and enjoy the friendships you have.

Likewise, remember that even the best of friends may make mistakes. If you have an understanding with your mutual friends that you and your ex don’t want to meet at social gatherings, be flexible. Communication mishaps, confusion, and plain forgetfulness might have you wind up at the same party as your ex.

Stay positive, be respectful, and good things will happen.

Getting Over a Break Up

It’s not easy getting over a break up. The best way to deal with mutual friends is to communicate your wishes to them regarding you and your ex. Avoid making your friends pick sides, stay positive, accept your losses, and be adaptable.

Follow these tips and continue enjoying years of healthy friendships with your mutual friends!

The Impact of Divorce on Children’s Education

divorce - 2houses

Parental separation can have adverse effects on children as they experience lower psychological wellbeing, which in turn can impact their achievements in education. While the conflict caused by the separation or the divorce itself can be responsible factors, it could also be that the couples who separate are not effective parents. A child’s learning begins at home, and parents who themselves did not receive any form of quality home education may not be capable of properly educating their children. The responsibility then, falls on schools and teachers. In a previous article on 2houses we covered schooling decisions for divorced couples and how it can impact their children.

Research has shown that children who experience their parents’ divorce can display psychological and behavioural reactions ranging from anxiety, depression, and increased irritability. A study published in the journal of Pediatrics & Child Health outlines that apart from the above symptoms, children can also experience problems in social relationships and school performance. In countries where the divorce rates are higher, a child’s education and school performance are affected even more. Interestingly enough, for parents it goes the other way; as average divorce rates increase, the impact of the separation lessens.

In their article on divorce and a child’s education, Children and Family Blog notes that the impact of separation or divorce varies depending on the level of conflict. In relationships where the parents experience a high-conflict situation, the separation could be seen as a relief for the children and may positively impact them. Whereas, in relationships where parents have a low-conflict situation, children can experience worse symptomatic responses, as exiting what felt like a stable family environment could create long-term shock.

Based on research spanning more than a decade on single-parent families, a study published in the journal of Family Relations emphasises that the disadvantages for children living with single parents can be substantial and may persist long into adulthood. In the paper Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps, the authors detail that children of divorced parents earn lower grades, and are less likely to excel at school, regardless of the parents’ background or their level of education. They are also less likely to attend or graduate university, and more likely to be unemployed in their adult years.

These findings also relate to the degree of education provided to young children at home. While parents who divorce online are less likely to provide supervision and proper education for their children, this correlation may not be entirely as a direct result of the divorce. The situation at home may be such that the parents don’t care, are ineffective, or do not have the skills or tools to provide the home education that children require. Save the Children describe how home education is crucial, as the majority of a young child’s learning takes place at home rather than school. The better the home environment, the better the child’s education. While the ability of the parents does have a big impact on a child’s upbringing, the consensus is that children of divorced families do come out worse in the end, with generally lower grades and education levels.

Separated Parents: Who Gets to Choose the Children’s School?

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Whether it’s public, private, online, or at home, the process of picking a school comes up in every separated parent’s life. While who gets to choose the children’s school may seem like a simple question, it doesn’t always have a simple answer. This is especially true if the parents disagree, such as one parent wants the child to go to public school and the other wants to homeschool. To get you started, here are some of the basic factors involved in most cases.

The State(s) the Separated Parents Live In

Because family law is state specific, it’s difficult to answer almost any question about which parent can make what decision without taking the state into consideration. For parents who live in the same state and also filed for divorce in that state, it’s a fairly easy lookup of family law code. However, in situations where one parent lives in another state or the parents no longer reside in the state the divorce was filed in, things get a bit trickier.

In these circumstances, you’ll want to go by the guidelines for the state the divorce was filed in because that’s the court that has jurisdiction over the case. For example, if the divorce was filed in Ohio, but one parent now lives in Indiana, Ohio’s laws are followed. If both parents have moved out of state, it’s a good idea to consider filing a change of jurisdiction so that the case is being dealt with in the proper state.

The Type of Custody Agreement

What kind of legal custody arrangement you have with your ex is one of the most important factors when it comes to who gets to choose the children’s school.

Sole Custody

If one parent has sole legal custody, that parent usually has full decision-making authority. This is true even if you have a generous visitation schedule that allows the parents to split the time fairly equally.

Joint Custody

In situations where the parents have joint legal custody, the family court system gives the parents equal decision-making authority. Again, this is true even if the children primarily reside with one parent, which can still be a different situation than a court-designated residential parent covered below. Joint legal custody situations assume that the parents will be able to come to a mutual agreement on the important decisions involving the children — such as education.

The Residential Parent

A residential parent is a designation for which parent’s house is used for school district purposes. Residential parents can be used in both sole and joint custody cases. If your divorce took place when your children were already of school age, it’s likely your agreement already includes a residential parent designation. If the children were very young, it may be something you need to add in now. If you already have a residential parent as part of your coparenting agreement, that parent’s district will be used. However, if you want to try to go out of district, are considering private schools, or want to homeschool, the residential parent doesn’t really come into play.

Final Considerations

Great coparenting involves a lot of communication and compromise. 2houses can help you with this process by making it easier to share information and see schedules at a glance. It makes it easier to see the logistics of the situation and integrate the best interests of the children. As with any other coparenting concern, if you can come to an agreement on your own, it’s all the better for everyone involved. If that’s not possible, the decision is usually brought to mediation or goes before a judge who will have the final say.

How to Talk to Your Preteen About Stress

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Preteens, also referred to as tweens, have a lot going on both physically and emotionally. Many preteens go through puberty, a process which often causes mood-altering hormonal changes.

During this time, many tweens are still expected to attend school, participate in sports, and help with household chores. Combine these changes and expectations with the fact that 1 out of 8 kids have anxiety, a condition that causes fear and uneasiness, and it’s easy to see why the preteen years can be stressful. Review the tips below so that you can effectively discuss stressful situations with your preteen without coming across as uncompassionate or judgmental.

Ask, Don’t Assume

Many parents unintentionally act as if they know their preteens better than their preteens know themselves. Anytime you have a conversation with your preteen, whether it’s a quick chat or a lengthy heart-to-heart, don’t make assumptions about how she thinks, feels, or behaves. Ask her open-ended questions rather than questions that require a simple yes or no, and then listen when she answers. Don’t talk over her or say that she’s wrong; let her share her opinions or experiences during a judgment-free chat session.

Unsure whether you make assumptions? Here are some common statements parents make:

  • – I know you’ve been stressed lately.
  • – All kids your age want a boyfriend or girlfriend, so I know you like someone.
  • – If I walk upstairs right now, I’m sure I’ll find your bed unmade and your clothes everywhere.
  • – I know you probably hate me right now, but…

These statements make assumptions about your preteen’s thoughts or actions. Instead of beginning a sentence with “I know,” try saying “I feel” instead. Also, avoid projecting your own childhood experiences on your preteen with statements like “All kids your age…”. Your tween may feel that you are implying they are lying or hiding things, which can create additional stress. It may also make them worry that they are failing to do normal activities that other preteens do.

Choose the Right Time

Family meals may seem like an excellent time to discuss stressors because everybody is in one place at the same time. However, your preteen may feel uncomfortable talking about her problems in front of everyone. You may also prefer to reserve mealtimes for fun, casual topics such as weekend plans or popular TV shows instead of addressing heavy topics.

If your preteen has a busy schedule, squeeze in time to chat before bed or during car rides to school or social commitments. You can also take your child out for some one-on-one time and chat over ice cream or milkshakes. Ask your tween what works for them and then plan something together.

Offer Potential Solutions Cautiously

Sometimes your tween simply needs a compassionate ear while she vents about a temporary problem. Other times, she may be battling an ongoing source of stress and want you to offer potential solutions. Things like peer pressure, low self-esteem, academics or a big move can all cause stress in a child’s life. Verbally offer potential solutions if you think your teen might be receptive to them or benefit from them. If not, consider leaving a journal, squishy ball, or meditative CD on her bed so that she can tackle feelings of stress on her own terms.

Tweens who want help with their stress can try yoga, deep breathing techniques, or visualizations. You can also take steps to eliminate stressors from your child’s life rather than just teaching her how to cope with them. For example, if she’s stressed because of a bully at school, you can speak with the principal and help put a stop to the situation. If she’s upset because a friend isn’t speaking to her, you can help her analyze the argument and determine whether to apologize or give the friend space.

If your tween internalizes stressful situations, she may become depressed or anxious. Encourage her to talk about what’s on her mind by utilizing the suggestions above.