The term “Parent Coordinator” is confusing- lots of divorce professionals use it, but not always to indicate the same job. Here’s a helpful article from Divorce Magazine that describes the role as it is traditionally defined: What is a Parent Coordinator?
CPC principal Lisa Herrick, PhD offers her thoughts on the relevance of this archetypical “n0-win” story to today’s destructive custody battles.
Here is a link to the piece on Lisa’s blog:
Especially if your financial situation is lopsided in favor of your ex, you may worry he or she can buy your kids’ favor with too frequent, extravagant gifts. But the next time your offspring returns home victoriously clutching the iPad you said would have to wait “for your next birthday, Buddy,” remember: Love isn’t for sale, even at Best Buy. Electronics (and concert tickets and designer clothes) are to kids what nicotine gum is to a heavy smoker; they offer quick, temporary relief followed by a craving for the real thing. The next time your child wakes from a nightmare, skins his knee, or needs help with a book report it won’t be the latest Apple product he runs to. It won’t even be the person who gave it to him. It’ll be you.
– See more at: How to Cope When Your Ex is a Disneyland Mom or Dad
If you hear your co-parent or your children complaining about your showing up late, taking the kids to the wrong sports field, forgetting to buy the poster board for the science project, consider this:
Your co-parent and children might have a point. Ask yourself if you are disorganized at work, and whether your friends or siblings also complain about your arriving to things late or forgetting important events. Is it them or is it you?
Here are some straightforward tips to consider if you agree that you are a disorganized parent:
- Talk to your co-parent about decreasing the number of parenting tasks on your regular to-do list. Focus each month on taking care of fewer tasks with more consistent success. Discuss with your co-parent your wish to be more effective – and the possibility that with a greater focus on completing fewer tasks you may become a more helpful parent in the long run. Try it for a month, and then re-evaluate with your co-parent (and if they are old enough to weigh in, with your kids!).
- Consider which tasks your children are old enough to take over. Pre-teens and teenagers should be responsible for remembering their own stuff – cleats, math books, ballet slippers – with some guidance, patience, and the forgiveness of their parents when they blow it. Talk with your co-parent and your children about which tasks they could take on. That way your co-parent can be less irritated with you for your forgetfulness. In return, try to think of ways you CAN be helpful to your kids and your co-parent that do NOT rely on organization and memory.
- Look into using an organizational app on your smartphone. One to consider is DUE, which provides various alarms and alerts to help you remember a series of tasks. EVERNOTE allows you to take notes, pictures, make lists, and calendar events all in one place – and synced to all your devices. CLEAR is a collection of intuitive and easy to search lists for various parts of your life.
- Create a habit and routine for the most important daily/weekly events. Once a routine become a habit, your brain does not have to work as hard to remember the sequence and the steps. After that you will be more organized ande dependable within the routines you have created. You will need to work hard in the short run to turn a routine into a habit. But in the long run, habits, if they are thoughtfully created, can be very helpful. EXAMPLE: Challenge: Packing up your three children for three different sports practices or games each Saturday and insuring that each child has what he or she needs. Routine: First, make a list with your child, or with your child’s coach, of every item the child needs when they attend their Saturday practice/game. Post the lists somewhere handy – like on the fridge. Every Friday after dinner but before dessert set a timer for five minutes. Put music on your sound system loudly enough so everyone can work to music. Tell each child to go gather each thing they need for their Saturday game/practice and put it in their gym bag. They have five minutes to do this before the buzzer goes off. When a child thinks they are finished gathering, they come to you and show you their bag. You check the items in the bag against that child’s list. If they forgot something, they need to go get it – and try to return before the buzzer goes off. When everyone is done, the bags are placed by the front door – ready for Saturday. When the bags are by the front door, everyone gets to eat dessert. If a child needs more than five minutes, extend the time next week to 8 minutes – it’s not a race, it’s a way to make this task happen quickly, efficiently, and with a little bit of fun. Do this routine four weeks in a row with the exact same sequence. By the 5th week it should be a habit for everyone and should run like clockwork. Saturdays will be less stressful.
- If all else fails, and you remain discouraged by your disorganization, consider btaining an evaluation from a psychologist or psychiatrist to determine whether you might have ADHD. If you are diagnosed with ADHD, you could consider an ADHD-focused behavioral therapy to help you learn strategies to become more organized, and/or consider medication. Many parents are people who grew up with ADHD but were never diagnosed. One red flag that you might have ADHD: you have a child diagnosed with this disorder. If that is the case – get yourself an evaluation. You will likely learn helpful information about yourself, even if no diagnosis is made.
- Bottom line: Try to be self-aware about the things that are hard for you. Ask for help. Acknowledge the things that are hard. Help the people you love understand that you are trying. Continue to work on ways to make organization easier for yourself so you can feel like – and become – a better parent.