How to Cope with Conflicting Parenting Styles after Divorce
Even when spouses are emotionally estranged, they may try to stay together for the benefit of children and preserving the family unit. Unfortunately, this tends to make both parents miserable, which is no good for kids in the long run. In some cases, divorce can actually end up being the lesser of two evils, especially if parents get along better when they’re apart.
However, splitting children between two households can be complicated in a variety of ways, and it can be particularly confusing for kids if ex-spouses have two vastly different parenting styles. How can you co-parent when your ex’s behavior totally contradicts your own? What if you turn out to be the tough one, for the good of your kids, and they prefer your lenient spouse? Here are a few things to remember when trying to co-parent with an uncooperative ex with a conflicting parenting style following divorce.
Try to Get on the Same Page
If you’re able to maintain an open dialogue with your ex, it’s going to be best for everyone involved, including your kids. See if you can come to some sort of agreement where parenting is concerned, at least on the issues that matter to you. Just remember that talking and listening go hand in hand, and your ex may feel strongly about topics that aren’t your top priority.
Give and take is essential to co-parenting, so choose your battles carefully. If you’ve got some wiggle room on bedtime or curfew, let your spouse have the victory there while you focus on getting your ex to cut back on sweets that make your kids bounce off the walls. If you and your spouse can present a united front on certain issues, it will create greater stability for your kids.
It’s important not to compare yourself to your ex-spouse, even if your kids do. You parent your children a certain way for specific reasons. If you’re strict about limiting sugar and junk food, finishing homework early, and sticking to a curfew or bedtime suitable for the ages of your kids, you have your reasons, and it’s all for the benefit of your children.
Don’t get rattled if they tell you they prefer to be with your ex, who allows them to get away with murder. Keep in mind that kids will act out following the stress and upheaval of divorce. Plus, they can be manipulative to get what they want. In the long run, maintaining a stable home with set boundaries will help them normalize, and you can still find ways to let them know you love them, even if you don’t show it with ice cream or rule breaking.
Don’t Involve the Kids
This is a major no-no. If your kids want to compare your two households, simply explain that you make the rules in your house and your ex makes the rules in the other household. Don’t badmouth your ex or say that one set of rules is better or worse than the other. Regardless of what your spouse may say to your kids, you should always maintain a neutral stance and stick with the rules you’ve set to best parent your children.
In any contentious divorce and child custody situation, you may need the help of a legal expert. Contact the qualified lawyers at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190.
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