A common dispute that surfaces among divorced parents is children’s activities. Sport- and event-related schedules of children often are demanding and interfere with family time. They require a significant time commitment from both parents, and the challenge remains to balance those activities with parenting schedules.
When the demands brought on by a child’s activities are added to an already testy relationship, conflict is bound to surface. Too many times we have seen one parent onboard with the busy schedule from extracurricular activities. Meanwhile, the other parent disagrees, citing that their child is overscheduled and overworked.
Communicate and compromise
Finger-pointing is not uncommon. While one parent accuses the other that he or she is forcing their child to live vicariously through him or her, the other parent may accuse the other of being lazy and not wanting to raise a well-rounded child with diverse experiences.
A parent who has limited time with his or her child may not relish sitting in the stands on certain weekends or weeknights while their child participates in taekwondo, dance practice or swimming. Logistics may prove overwhelming, and a parent may suddenly face a shrinking parenting time.
Parents must communicate and compromise to resolve this situation. If not, a judge may have to step in to make the decision.
Work together and address concerns
A resolution will prove challenging. However, here are some key points for parents to consider on this issue:
- Work together: Support the child in activities in which he or she excels and enjoys. This may include providing funding to purchase sports equipment, art materials and technology tools for robotics as well as providing necessary transportation to and from events, tournaments and meetings.
- Address concerns right away: If a parent believes that too many activities have led to a tired child whose grades have declined, immediately talk about it. The advice of other people in your child’s life may prove helpful, too. Talk with teachers, club advisers, coaches and even your family doctor who may provide crucial insight.
This issue will only grow. Time demands and commitment to extracurricular activities likely increase as the child gets older.
These are the times in which parents need to adjust, even switching certain days or nights that they have with their child. Parents will have to work out solutions knowing that they both have their child’s best interests in mind.