Technology management for children in future divorce decrees?

Joint physical custody is becoming more and more the norm in today's society. Since no one parent has primary custody of the child and since the child usually spends half the week living one lifestyle and half another, technology management may seem impossible. It is often said that co-parenting with an ex and managing technology use in children are two of the greatest challenges in the modern parenting world.

Also, research indicates that technology use for children can be addictive. When there is no primary parent in charge, a child can be living in an ongoing cycle of addiction and withdrawal as they move between two households with different technology plans. There is a possibility that future divorce decrees will include a technology management provision that both parents agree to as part of the divorce settlement

What can parents do when they want to enforce a "no tech during the school week" policy or at least set up a consistent plan between mom and dad when their kids spend 2-3 nights or alternating weeks between parties?

Dr. Kate Roberts suggests the below six ways parents can approach tech management with their children:

1. Parents need to recognize that whether its technology or other activities at their ex's house that they find objectionable, they can't control what happens when children are at an ex's house. As difficult as this is, parents must accept this reality and learn to live with it. Parents need to hold to their own standards and avoid judging an ex in front of children.

2. Parents need to focus on what happens under their own roof and avoid wavering. By keeping standards consistent, parents help their children to internalize them. For example, "When I go to mom's house, technology doesn't happen during certain times".

3. Parents should be aware that children complain about having more tech time at the other house. Regardless parents should be prepared to stand by their rules. Expect children to sneak around and even lie as part of getting used to different rules. Don't react, set firm limits and move through it until the children adjust to the different set of rules.

4. Parents should avoid conversations about why things can happen with technology at one house and not the other. That's a no-win topic. If asked, parents can respond by saying, "We don't have the same rules on many issues." It's okay.

5. Parents can expect children to be amped up when they use tech for hours at an ex's house and should allow time for children to calm down after returning back home to their house. Parents should avoid criticizing revved up children and instead plan calming activities like a hot bath, a physical activity like a walk, a card game, reading together or doing a puzzle together.

6. Parents need to believe that with support and patience their children will adjust to different rules between houses even when inconsistencies exist between households, even for tech use.

One thing for certain, technology use and overuse in children is here to stay. In addition, co-parenting between mom and dad will continue as divorce happens. Addressing difficult parenting concerns, together, equates to better adjusted children.

At Stange Law Firm, PC, we seek to uphold the law of "the best interests of the child." As the usage of technology with children has become the norm, we believe that this is something that should be discussed with your attorney and possibly included in the parenting plan.

Source: 6 Ways to Manage Your Kids' Technology Use Post-Split, Dr. Kate Roberts, Huffington Post Divorce