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In the midst of chaos, proper preparation is key to ensuring that your children have a successful school year. Preparation requires that every parent and step-parent have a thorough understanding of their roles in fostering a positive school environment for their children.

Attending school can be an exciting time for everyone, but the experience can quickly become dreadful when parents use the school as a battleground for conflict. Especially when there are step-parents in the picture.

Ultimately, the primary concern of parents should be ensuring that the children are raised in a loving, supportive, and healthy environment. The interaction between parents is visible to not only school administrators, but to other parents and students as well. The last thing that your children want is to feel ashamed and embarrassed by the actions of their parents. Therefore, it is important to minimize conflict and unnecessary arguments.

Whether you are a newly divorced couple or the parent of a blended family, the following tips can increase your chances of having a successful school year:

Parenting Plan. Each parent should actively engage in designing, implementing, and complying with a personalized parenting plan. This plan should serve as a guide that sets forth the conditions and terms of each parent's responsibilities, and will likely prevent any "misunderstandings."

School Work Accountability. Determine who will be responsible for keeping up with the children's progress reports and ensuring that all work is being completed and turned in on time. Establish which subject each parent will assist with. (For example, mom may assist with math and dad may assist with English). Designating each parent with a subject will lessen the load of each parent and encourage academic success for the children.

Weekday/Weekend Visitation Preparation: Establish available dates for weekday and weekend visitation periods and each parent should calendar these dates. (Obviously, if there is a court ordered visitation schedule in place, adhere to and comply with it). To ensure a smooth start to the visitation periods, make sure that the school is aware of who will be picking the children up from school. It can be very frustrating for the parent and child when the school officials refuse to release the child to the other parent. Therefore, it is important to update all parent contact and child pick-up list information with your child's school. Lastly, make sure to pack all of the child's needed belongings so that the visiting parent can fairly enjoy their time with the child without any "innocent" interruptions.

Communicate with Each Other: Schedule weekly phone calls to discuss and update each parent about the children's week. This will be a great time to discuss extra-curricular activities, grades, upcoming events/parent teacher conferences, and any other concerns that you may have. This gives each parent the opportunity to participate in the child's schooling. After all, everyone loves the children and wants to be apart of their lives in a meaningful way.

Co-parenting can be fun and non-confrontational when its done right. While everyone may still be adjusting to the new blended and co-parent lifestyle, remember, the child's best interest should always be at the forefront of the parenting. Spend more time being an asset to your child's success and less time fighting with each other.

I hope you have found these tips helpful and useful. The Quander Law Firm wishes you and your family a great 2016-2017 school year.


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