10 tips for being a better parent in 2019

Reading Time: 8 minutes

What are the Best Parenting Tips in 2019?

With the increased demand on families and time management, what are the best parenting tools?  Are you currently in a custody battle or dispute? Do you want more time with your child but need help documenting and keeping track of everything in one place? What about keeping up with expenses or missed visits? Is there an app to help with custody, visitation, or co-parenting issues? The answer to all of those questions are yes! In this article, we will provide you with 10 tips for becoming a better parent!

#10 Know your state’s laws

Depending on what state you live in, you will need to become familiar with your states custody, visitation laws and guidelines. Of course, if you hire an attorney, they will be familiar with these as well, but it’s extremely important that you are too. Here is a comprehensive list of all 50 states including Canada and Australia.

Chose your location

United States:

Australia

 

#9  Determine Sole Custody or Joint Custody

First, you and the other parent, or your attorney will need to decide if you want sole physical custody (the child living primarily with one parent and visiting the other parent per court order). Or joint legal custody of your child. The child’s best interest will always be taken into consideration in a court of law. Here are some factors to consider when determining which might be best for your child. 

For sole custody:

  • Both parents agree or It is in the best interest of the child.
  • One parent has a work schedule that requires them to be away or traveling for long periods of time.
  • One parent suffers or has untreated substance abuse issues such as drugs or alcohol. Commonly taken into consideration during custody hearings. 
  • One parent has an untreated mental illness(s).
  • One parent is abusive or neglectful of the child. 

For Joint Shared Custody:

  • It is in the best interest of the child. 
  • Both parents live in close proximity to each other. 
  • Both parents want to be highly involved in their children’s lives.
  • Parents cooperate reasonably well and can make decisions together. 
  • There is no history of child abuse, domestic violence or kidnapping.

#8 Keep a journal

 
Keep a journal. This should go without saying, however, keeping everything in one place and organized can be hard to do. Benefits include but not limited to: 
 
  • Keeping track of late pick-ups and drop-offs.
  • Documented missed or canceled visits.
  • Discussions with the other parent.
  • Your child’s mood and emotions when interacting with the other parent.
  • Properly record health appointments and medical information.
  • Issues you want to talk about with the other parent.
  • How your child is doing in school and other activities.
  • Anything you want to remember
Documenting events as well as keeping up with things related to your child and their activities can and will speak volumes as to your involvement with your child. Especially if you have to go to court. Obviously, there could be even more factors, however, you should by now have a good idea or baseline of what you should at least be considering documenting.
 

# 7 Education 

 
Deciding on what school your child goes to should definitely be discussed with the other parent. As with most decisions regarding your child, it demonstrates good co-parenting and will benefit your child. Not to mention there are a lot of factors and decisions that need to be made including but not limited to:
  • What is in the best interest of the child.
  • What school district would the child be in?
  • Get notified of when your child is late, absent or important conferences and grades.
  •  Name of School, Address of School, the telephone number of school, and teacher/curricular information.
  • Each parent is in charge of giving the other parent, accompanying data: duplicates of school report cards, school meetings or events, school field trips, school pictures, and school site passwords. 
  • Each parent is in charge of keeping himself or herself informed with respect to all school activities in which the child takes an interest. 
  • Each parent is in charge of advising the other parent as quickly as time permits, the child is being dropped off late, evacuated early, or won’t be in participation at school. 
  • Each parent must give time to the child(ren) to think about and finish homework assignments, papers, or other homework, regardless of whether the culmination of this work interferes with the parent’s time with the child or extracurricular activities.  
  • Charges and school costs will be paid by the parents: % by dad, % by mother.
  • Settling debates about school and extracurricular activities
Resolving Disputes Should the parents be unable to agree about where and when the child is enrolled in school or extracurricular activities. Whether that means infringing on the time the child is with the other parent or involving both parents bringing the child to practices, rehearsals, competitions, the parents shall: Seek professional assistance from a licensed family counselor or private mediator to resolve their differences or participate in at least six co-parenting or counseling sessions.   Sadly, this is the case as to why so many parents end up in court in the first place. They simply can not agree on what is in the child’s best interest or certainly specified arrangements. 
 

#6 Develop a plan for Travel and Exchanges

 
 This is often easier said than done.  However, if all possible this will benefit your child greatly. I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “if you fail to plan, your planning to fail.”  Information in your plan helps your schedule run smoothly in normal situations. You need to decide where exchanges take place and who drives the children, who will pick them up, and other things like planning a vacation. Your plan can explain and communicate about schedule changes and rescheduling parenting time if necessary. Again, often courts are left to determine pick up times and locations due to one or both parents unwillingness to be reasonable, compliant, mutually agreeable or co-parent.
  • Exchanges
  • Travel
  • Revising the plan

Your plan must contain information about how you and the other parent will revise the plan if and when it becomes necessary. You can develop a process for reviewing the plan and making revisions. Provide information about how a parent can suggest changes to the plan and have a way for the parents to resolve disagreements about revisions to the plan.

#5 Child Support Calculations

Depending on your location as well as other factors, child support can and should vary. For example, you may not have to pay child support if have 50/50 shared joint custody. However, discussing and coming to a mutually agreeable financial plan as to which party pays for what is advantageous.

Choose Your Location to find out your state guidelines for child support.

United States:

Canada:

Australia

#4  Do a check up on your finances 

One of the best things that you can do, in my opinion, is clean up your credit score. Your credit score effects so many areas of your life. From renting an apartment home, insurance rates, to what rate you will pay on a loan. It can save you and your family thousands upon 10’s of thousands of dollars in the long haul. Especially if and when you decide to purchase a home. Educate yourself on finances and on how to be a good steward of your finances. This is important for any person, even more so if you are financially responsible for a child. Although your credit score isn’t the be all end all of your money.

#3    Learn more about co-parenting 

Co-parenting is often one of the highest regarded and determining factors outside of what is in the best interest of the child. Especially when it comes to contested custody issues. While co-parenting can present its own set of challenges, it can have its rewards too. In the midst of legal troubles and situations, far too often parents lose sight of what is truly important. Creating hostility between two parents isn’t healthy for two adults, much less your child. It can cause even greater harm to the child as well as psychological harm as they feel torn or caught in the middle of two parents that the child loves and often leaves them as having to “choose sides” among many other factors. Learning how to effectively co-parent is the combination of two parents, putting aside their differences and working together to mutually benefit the child.

#2 Love your children unconditionally.

Your children will and always need to be your focus. Often times, children get caught in the crosshairs of a custody dispute, yet sadly, parents sometimes use their children as pawns or tools for selfish reasons, attempt to gain an advantage for court proceedings, or they themselves have an underlying mental health issue(s). You will be a better parent and your child(ren) will benefit the most if you can separate what’s happening behind the scenes and in the courtroom. Loving your child unconditionally and spending time with them will build a bond between you and them that can last a lifetime. While sometimes this means “tough love”, there are also ways and times that you can show your child compassion in a situation by showing them mercy and grace instead of discipline too. There is no greater force on this earth than love.

#1 Find your faith

In my opinion, finding your faith or developing a relationship with God is by far the most important thing you can do for your child. Going to church and reading the Bible has changed, helped, and encouraged more people than any other book or organization in the history of time. While this may or may not help you in court, it will certainly help you become a better person and parent. If you have had a bad experience at a church or never been, I would encourage you to go or try again. Not all churches are the same and I’m not saying one denomination is better than the other. But, there is a spiritual side of life that plays a vital role in our lives and I can say with 100% certainty, that God, and being a Christian has impacted my life, and has helped me be a better person, thus having a more positive impact on my child and their life.  Here are some of my favorite Bible verses:

          Psalm 127:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Children are a gift from the Lord;they are a reward from him.

James 1:17 New Living Translation (NLT)

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.[a] He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

Romans 8:31 New Living Translation (NLT)

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

If you have yet to accept your relationship with Jesus Christ and want a relationship with God and be sure of your eternal salvation, please say this prayer today! 
 
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead and I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name. Amen
 
If you said this prayer please send us a message
 
Here are some additional resources and we encourage you to find and attend a local church on a regular basis.
Have questions? Contact us!

Help keep FightingDads in the fight!




1 Comment

  1. Judy Oliver on January 30, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Super blog , excellent advice, especially love number 1 advice. Pray every dad who is fighting to be a part of their child’s life will read this!

Leave a Comment