Part 1: Tips on Filling out the Parent Plan < Previous Section | Next Section >
The parent plan that you and your child's other parent develop together is an extremely important document. It defines how each parent will meet the needs of each of your children, now and in the future. The parent plan results from a multi-step process of learning and thinking about your children. It is the culmination of your hard work in reading a variety of resources, completing the Needs Assessment and then coming together to work on the final product – your parent plan.

Working together on a parent plan isn't an easy task. You may still be angry, hurt, sad or worried about the end of your relationship with your child's other parent. Please use the support of the reading and resource list if you need help.

No matter how difficult, this plan is worth the effort. Know that your children see you communicating consistently with their other parent and making every effort to work together to come up with a plan for your family. You are teaching your children that their needs come first and that the people who they love most in this world can treat each other with dignity and respect.

Tips for Completing the Parent Plan
  1. Complete one part at a time; typically parents spend about ten minutes working on each section.

  2. If possible, attend a parent education class for families in transition first.

  3. Read related resources available on the National Family Resiliency Center (NFRC) website and complete a Needs Assessment for each child in the family prior to working on the parent plan.

  4. Take notes on what you discuss with your child's other parent.

  5. Do not consult with your child. The parent plan requires adult decision making.

  6. Remember that a child has so many needs, more than enough for each parent to be involved in parenting.

  7. Work through the feelings and issues you have for your former partner in groups, with counselors and with friends.
Sections & Focus
1. Tips on Filling out the Parent Plan
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2. Managing Family Changes
Explaining family changes, affirming your love and commitment to your child during and after the family changes
3. Providing Stable Living Arrangements
Developing living and transfer arrangements that provide for your child's access to both parents, comfort, stability, and continuity
4. Planning for Education
Planning for your child's educational needs
5. Promoting Healthy Interpersonal Relationship
Fostering health relationships between your child and his or her siblings, friends, extended family, stepparents, and/or other adults
6. Managing Children's Extracurricular Activities
Deciding about extracurricular activities and making necessary arrangements for participation
7. Nurturing Spiritual and Ethical Growth
Addressing your child's spiritual and ethical education, beliefs, and practices
8. Caring for Physical and Emotional Health
Arranging for your child's physical and emotional health care needs
9. Ensuring Supervision and Physical Safety
Ensuring your child is well supervised and safe
10. Fostering Appropriate Behavior
Delineating your expectations and plans for supporting appropriate behavior
11. Building Healthy Co-Parent Relationships
Communicating and collaborating with one another about your child's progress and challenges
12. Revising and Updating the Plan
Planning for the regular review and revision of the parent plan to reflect your child's growth and/or changing family circumstances

Before you begin, read through each section to determine which is relevant to you, your child, your co-parent, and your family circumstances. Complete only those sections which are meaningful for your situation.
1. Tips on Filling out the Parent Plan
2. Managing Family Changes
3. Living Arrangements
4. Educational Planning
5. Interpersonal Relationship
6. Extracurricular Activities
7. Spiritual Nurturing
8. Physical & Emotional Health
9. Supervision & Physical Safety
10. Fostering Appropriate Behavior
11. Co-Parenting
12. Reviewing & Revising the Parent Plan
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Copyright 2008: Risa J. Garon and Carolyn Wohnsigl, National Family Resiliency Center, Inc. All Rights Reserved.