Arrange sleepovers and play dates at your house.
In a child custody dispute, it is always useful to draw as many of your children’s friends and parents as possible to your house. When it comes time to throw a party, do it at your house. Schedule sleepovers and playdates at your home, under your roof. Let other children in your neighborhood become familiar with your home, your backyard, your house rules. Engage their parents in the process: One month the sleepover is at your house; the next month it’s at another house.
By building rapport with other families in the community, and by showing them that you can manage a play date or a sleepover safely and responsibly, you are building a consortium of valuable witnesses who can testify to your parenting skills and your dedication to your children. Moreover, when kids in the neighborhood start to develop fond memories of their sleepovers at your home, they will also remember that it was YOU who supervised the event, made the food, set down the rules, hosted the guests, etc.
On several occasions when I’ve been in court, I’ve watched a parent testify knowledgeably about the children, their friends, and their friends’ parents. They gained a tactical advantage on the witness stand because they had intimate knowledge about the children’s friends and their families. They gained this knowledge by becoming extensively involved in arranging play dates and sleepovers at their home. Moreover, the place where other kids go to,when they go to a sleepover, is often regarded as the child’s permanent home — it’s just another way of establishing where the child calls home.
Some parents prefer to host recreational gatherings outside of the house, or to ship their kids off to another family’s home for a sleepover. But this is a mistake. The level of goodwill that can be generated — and the inside knowledge that can be gained — from a sleepover at your own home is second to none.
Please feel free to comment if you have any relevant experiences about this.
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