Being a parent is hard work, and it can be made even more challenging when you share your parenting time with an ex-spouse. Although the two of you are no longer together, you still have an obligation to raise your children in a consistent, loving environment. When it comes to disciplining your child as co-parents, consistency and compassion are key. Here are some tips to help you navigate co-parenting after a divorce.
Communication is vital.
Even though you and your spouse are no longer married, it is important that you maintain good communication regarding important parenting issues. It will be easier for you and your children if you and your ex-spouse are on the same page when it comes to rules, rewards and discipline. You may not always agree on how to handle situations, but it helps if you are able to maintain consistent, respectful communication about parenting issues. Try setting up a standing phone call or meeting to discuss how your children are doing.
If behavioral issues arise, you should discuss the issues with your ex-spouse and devise a plan of action that you both support. Focus on solutions rather than assigning blame.
Establish ground rules.
It’s important that you and your ex-spouse enforce the same rules for your children in both homes. This helps create a consistent routine for your children and helps them understand their boundaries. Some examples of good ground rules include:
What is our plan for dealing with behavior issues?
What is the child’s bedtime?
What is our plan for chores and allowance?
What screen time limits will we set (if any)?
Find a balance.
After a divorce, it may be tempting to cut your child some extra slack as they adjust to their new normal. However, don’t completely throw out all forms of discipline. Find balance in your life between compassion and clear boundaries and expectations.
Consistency is key.
It’s hard to uphold all the rules and boundaries all the time. Especially on an especially difficult day. It’s okay if things slip through the cracks sometimes, but remember that consistency is important in successfully raising any child. Children who come from split homes may have an especially difficult time finding consistency when their time is split between two homes. Even if your ex doesn’t enforce the same house rules, you should still do everything you can to enforce yours.
As a parent, you can only do your best to provide a stable and compassionate home for your children. To learn more about co-parenting or to talk to a family law professional, contact us today.