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Does social media usage belong in the parenting plan?

Getting through a divorce is emotionally and financially trying. It tears apart your former home life and re-establishes familial relationships. Sometimes you move out of town or back home near your own parents or siblings. It's extremely hard, but eventually you find a new normal.

The parenting plan is a key to the new normal. After the divorce settlement, division of assets and custody issues, the parenting plan provides guidelines and a framework for moving forward. It's more than just visitation schedules and holiday arrangements, it should include how to handle the major child-raising decisions from choosing new schools and doctors, to discipline, morality and privacy concerns.

In the modern world, it's impossible to discuss privacy and morality without including considering technology.

Social media and online usage for children

Amid hacked emails and identify theft, every individual has her own idea about privacy. Some share everything online and some refuse to check those user agreement boxes at the app store, and others use a rotary phone. There are differing philosophies, and that's how it should be. Except that you need to know what philosophy your kids will be raised by.

What seems normal to you can easily conflict with another's view of the internet, especially social media. A parenting column in the Washington Post explores the concept. For the author, an online chat is the same as letting a stranger in her home. If a babysitter or co-parent violates that, it's a serious issue. To others, a chat session is merely a communication tool that's the same as taking a phone call or even watching TV. What one parent views as intrusive is matter of fact to another.

Parenting plan details

It's impossible to cover every child raising scenario in a parenting plan. It's impossible to do in an encyclopedia. The world is complex and always changing. However, it's still important to look for core values that you want to be consistent through the upbringing.

Many parenting plans include a philosophical focus on how to administer discipline, religion and general morality. Including privacy and confidentiality in the plan is a natural extension. It will never tell a co-parent how to act to a specific incident, but it lays the foundation for tone and consistency, which are two fundamental elements in raising children and maintaining a sense of normal.

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