Tag Archive for: Kids

by James J. Gross

One thing I learned in cub scouts and boy scouts was always leave the woodpile a little higher.  Sometimes we camped out at campsites that had a woodpile.  If you used some of the wood for your fire, you were supposed to replace it and add a little more than you took for the next camper.  By extrapolation, it also meant leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

I thought of this as I was picking up my teenage sons’ clothes off the floor of their rooms, turning off the lights they left on, and putting their dishes in the dishwasher.  No matter which one of them I ask, it is always the other one that did it.  My comeback to them is going to be – leave the woodpile a little higher.

As I start work this morning, my thoughts turn to the clients I’m helping as they struggle through their divorces.  It occurs to me that each of us, as we pass through life, whether helping others through our work or raising kids, can leave the woodpile a little higher.

 

Laura Doerflinger, MS, a licensed mental health counselor, has a good idea for co-parenting by email.  She suggests each parent pick a day to publish a Kids Mail email.  For example if you drop the children off Sunday night, publish Kid News Monday morning.  What to include?

  1. School:  Grades, homework, school incidents, forms that need to be filled out, conferences,  etc.
  2. Health:  Colds, doctor appointments, dentist, counseling, moods, etc.
  3. Financial:  Payments due or parenting plan division of costs for activities, medical expenses, etc.
  4. Schedule:  Changes to the current schedule, changes in your child’s plans, holiday times, etc.
  5. Vacations:  Clarification of times and plans – phone numbers, etc.
  6. Upcoming Events:  Social, school, extracurricular or sport activities.

Doerflinger suggests avoiding control issues by not giving instructions and relating only the facts.  Limit the news to co-parenting issues.  This is not a place to discuss your relationship.  Respond to the items that need responses and be sure to thank the other parent for the effort.