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Keep summertime fun with positive parenting time

So, your children are taking a vacation with their other parent. Whether they are staying in Michigan or heading out for a far-away destination, families need to be sure to gear up -- physically and emotionally -- for the effects of a prolonged visit. Experts say that adults do not always handle this division of parenting time with grace, but it is critical that both parents support and honor the custody and visitation schedule.

It is most important to promote the happiness and satisfaction of your children, even if child custody situations sometimes feel uncomfortable for you. One example: telling your kids that it is OK for them to have fun with a stepparent. You may feel jealous or conflicted about the vacation situation, but it is critical for you to take the higher road.

Make sure that you do not intrude on your kids' time with their other parent by creating a digital tether. Stop yourself from calling or texting too much; your kids need to feel comfortable spending time with their mom or dad without worrying about you. The best way to handle communication is to simply allow your kids to contact you!

Children respond to their environment, so both parents need to be on board with promoting positive attitudes throughout the summer transitions. Even if you do not agree with everything that the other parent does, you should make sure to support that person's general parenting style. Get excited with your children about that camping trip or other vacation activity. Parents who are supportive and positive throughout the execution of their child custody agreement are far more likely to have success in the long term. However, if you find that you are having difficulty enforcing a child custody order because of summer travels, it may behoove you to revisit that document with the help of a legal team.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "When the kids vacation with your ex: Don't trip out" Heidi Stevens, Balancing Act, Jun. 17, 2014

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