May 15, 2014

Summer Schedule Stress-Reliever: Effective Co-Parenting


For Minnesota families, summer feels different than other times of the year in more ways than just the warmer weather.   Because most kids don’t attend school year round, the summer months can present unique scheduling challenges.  This is  especially true for families headed by two wage earners, and even more so when parents have gotten unmarried.  For a school-age child, the summer routine often includes a mix of camps, classes and lessons, latchkey programs, vacations and sporting activities, with many logistical issues to be resolved.  This is “times 3” if there are three kids in the family!  The start and end times of kids’ activities vary week to week, and tend to not conveniently coincide with the work hours of the parent on duty.

That’s a lot of moving parts for families in which parents are getting unmarried.   Managing complicated logistics is especially stressful if kids move from Mom Island to Dad Island without a safe and reliable bridge between the two. This is one reason why Collaborative Team Practice is designed to help parents establish the best possible co-parenting relationship after a divorce or break up.  This always makes it easier on kids, but it can also be a huge benefit for time-challenged parents, and for the support network of extended family, baby sitters and carpool parents who can be resources for kids without having to be in the middle.

Here’s the rub: establishing an effective co-parenting relationship isn’t easy.  An effective co-parenting relationship relies on clear communication, cooperation, reasonable flexibility and courtesy, and these elements can be in short supply during the painful end of a marriage or partnership.  The Collaborative guidance and support of a neutral child specialist to create a Parenting Plan and a neutral coach to create a Relationship Plan are important resources toward the goal of effective co-parenting.  We know this hard work can be invaluable for your family in the future.  You and your kids deserve to enjoy all the summers to come.

Deborah Clemmensen
Licensed Psychologist

Deborah Clemmensen, M.Eq., Licensed Psychologist was a child and family clinician for many years before her discovery of Collaborative Team Practice in 2000 motivated the transformation of her professional role from therapist to Neutral Child Specialist. This work---hearing the voices of every family member during a divorce or break up, keeping children at the center and out of the middle, and assisting parents in the creation of developmentally responsive parenting plans---is both a passion and a privilege. Find out more about Deborah's work at

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