Parenting plans are a great way to ensure that co-parenting runs as smoothly as possible. The best plans tend to cover many areas such as vacations, holidays, information sharing between the parents, child care, health care, religion and travel. However, is it possible to go overboard and to instill too many rules within each area?

Absolutely, yes. For example, too many rules in parenting plans may have to do with bedtimes, what foods are allowed, ages of babysitters and how many books a child should read per week.

As a way to control or trap the other parent

If one parent wants to control or trap the other parent for whatever reason, that can sometimes backfire. For example, say that Parent A decides to put in a lot of rules in order to trap Parent B with a rule violation. Parent A can then claim that B is not following the parenting plan.

This move can backfire easily because Parent A may lose track of the rules or may end up having to follow rules that he or she does not like. Parents should design the plans with the children’s best interests in mind. These documents are not power plays.

Accidentally limiting the children’s freedom or lives

Children should always have choices to some extent. It is how they learn and grow as people. If parenting plans are too rigid, though, they can limit children’s freedom, and that may not have been the intent. Say that a child wants to play basketball, but the parenting plan already has the child slotted in for piano and baseball with no time basketball. Parent B is willing to sub activities out on the weeks that the parent has the child, but Parent A is not.

The result might be Parent B going to court for modifications that further complicate the situation, especially as the child gets older. Children should not feel caught in the middle and like their lives hinge on a set of rules that do not make practical sense. Children want their parents to have their backs.