Co-parenting can be a challenging endeavor in the best of circumstances, and this difficulty can be further compounded when one parent serves in the military. The challenges of things like deployments and an unpredictable work schedule can make things more complicated.
Finding ways to simplify your co-parenting arrangement can reduce unnecessary stress. Consider these options to help make the situation easier.
Regular, open communication is essential, especially when there’s distance between you and your co-parent. Use various means like emails, video calls or messaging apps to keep each other informed about the children’s daily lives. Discuss how you’ll handle communication, decision-making and caregiving during deployments since these times may require special consideration. Ensure you have a reliable support system in place.
Military life is marked by change, but children thrive on routine. Strive to maintain consistency, particularly with bedtime and mealtime schedules, homework routines and discipline methods. While structure is important, flexibility is crucial when dealing with military deployments or schedule changes. Be willing to adapt as needed and help the children to adjust to these changes.
Clearly outline each parent’s responsibilities. This will reduce misunderstandings and better ensure that both parents are on the same page. Teach your children respect for each parent’s role. Highlight the significance of the military parent’s service, and the importance of the civilian parent’s stability. Encourage your children to create scrapbooks or memory boxes filled with mementos from the military parent. This can help them feel closer during absences.
Prepare for deployments and homecomings
Deployments and homecomings can be challenging for the children. You can make this easier for the children by preparing them for these days. Consider allowing them to spend extra time with the other parent before deployment and be ready to celebrate the homecoming. This could include planning for your child to have some extra time with that parent.
Co-parenting with a military member requires additional considerations, but with effective communication, flexibility and mutual respect, you can create a supportive environment for your children. Remember, every family is unique – find the strategies that work best for your situation.