As we encounter more issues with homework, extracurriculars, plans with friends, etc., I am wondering what everyone likes/dislikes about their custody schedules for their preteens and teens? Why? What would your *ideal* schedule be?
There has been no discussion of changing our particular schedule, it was just something that popped into my head as I thought about how different some of the challenges are now versus when dsd was younger, and I was interested to hear how everyone else handled it (if changing the schedule was an option/necessary).
As our (now-teenage) twin sons got older, my ex wanted to move from EOW and 1 evening/week, to 2 evenings/week, ostensibly so he could be more involved in extracurriculars and helping with homework. In general, he seems to feel more comfortable/competent/interested in the work of parenting older kids, compared to, say, toddlers.
I hated to spend *less* time with them, while they were already spending less time at home with parents anyway, and getting ever closer to being adults living on their own. However, I tried to focus on their need for more time with their Dad as they approached manhood; the fact that it's better for any kid to have both parents involved with school, sports, etc.; and that I'd been lucky to have so much of their time while they were younger and it was fair for my ex to want more.
But old habits die hard and the 2nd weekday evening never really took off. My ex kept having to miss it, for various reasons. He felt guilty cancelling, so he'd tell me at the last minute or just not show up. Rather than fight about it, I carefully suggested we switch from assuming he'd have the kids that night unless he said otherwise, to assuming they'd be with me unless he told me in advance he was going to exercise "his" 2nd night. So, he wasn't technically giving it up, just dumping the expectation that he call me to cancel. Since then, he almost never has time for the 2nd night.
Lesson: flexibility is the absolute key, for older kids. Their commitments and interests deserve to be a higher priority than a rigid schedule meant to accommodate their parents, whose divorce and separate lives were not the kids' decision. If your ex wants - and is able - to do more driving to practices and lessons, and more homework nights, you should let him. But the most important thing is that the kids get where they need to go, regardless whose parenting time it's "supposed" to be. Same with weekends. It's one thing for courts to set rules that one parent may not schedule play-dates for a 5-y-o during the other parent's time. It's not fair to set limits like that, for kids old enough to start scheduling their own social lives. If a kid wants to go to the movies with his friends on Saturday - and there's no reason he shouldn't be allowed to go - both parents should collaborate to facilitate it, regardless "whose" weekend it's supposed to be.
One woman in a house full of men: my soul mate: or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son: (a sophomore) ... our little man: (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all: our.
I can indentify. My daughter is almost 16 and her dad doesn't like to drive her anywhere. So if she has plans with friends, she is always trying to switch things around so she is at my house when she has those kinds of plans. He seems hurt when she doesn't come over, but he is not willing to drive her around. She will eventually be driving herself, but I don't know how it will all work out in the next 2 years. It's stressful already. :P
Right now she is here one night one week, then four the next, kind of an extended EOW plus midweek overnight schedule :) Dsd says that it is just right and actually mentioned offhand that she liked spending half her time with mom and half with dad (not quite true, but she likes the idea of it at least!) As I said, there has been zero talk of changing it now, I was just curious if people found that either their kids wanted a change as they got older or if the parents did.
Issues are...things like not wanting to transfer homework projects back and forth (she has her own laptop at mom's, not at our house though she can use ours), the fact that transferring *stuff* for 4 days (including sports gear, music gear, etc., we have all the basics like clothes, shoes, toiletries etc. at each house) seems to be an increasingly large amount, communication about ongoing school projects can be touchy, etc.
Luckily extracurriculars and friends haven't been an issue as of yet because we live in the same town as her mom, so it's no big deal to take her to events when she is with us or to have friends over or whatever. Likewise, both mom and dad are very flexible about switching weekends days if need be.
Like I said, just a passing curiousity about how others have worked this out-setting up a custody schedule for a young kid is so different than for a teen!