Should Your New Partner Discipline Your Children? (Pt 2 )

A woman and a child on the road together. The woman is running and the child is on a bicycle

Welcome back and thanks for joining us here at The Kronzek Firm. We’ve been talking about the challenge many divorced parents face when their new partners take on the role of a disciplinarian with their children. As we mentioned in the previous article, there are a lot of factors that will influence whether or not this works out for you, like the age of your children, how your partner handles the interactions, and if they have kids of their own. But are there any tips to help the process along? Could you both be more successful parents with a little help? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind if you’re considering including your partner in the discipline of your children:

Take it slowly:

Don’t suddenly encourage your partner to step into a disciplinary role overnight. Make their inclusion slow and steady so that the kids can adjust to the new dynamic. Maybe start by having them sit in on talks you have with your kids when they misbehave. Then, after some time, have them talk to the kids about misbehavior before you hand out the punishment. Later on, when your children have had time to get used to that next step, have them start handing out punishments once in a while, starting with smaller ones and working their way up.

Assess how your kids feel:

You may not like it, but the way your kids respond to your partner’s inclusion in the discipline process will play a role in how successful you are at it. Kids are never going to like discipline, but if they don’t resent your partner slowly stepping into a disciplinary role, and they’re willing to take guidance from them, then you’re likely to be successful. On the other hand, if it creates friction in an already difficult relationship, and your kids won’t take direction from anyone other than a biological parent, you may have a war on your hands if you allow your partner to become a disciplinarian.  

Agree on rules and punishments beforehand:

One thing you can be sure of – it’s never going to work if you two aren’t on the same page about what constitutes bad behavior, and how it should be handled. Before your partner steps into any kind of disciplinary role, make certain that you’ve sat down and agreed on what behaviors need to be addressed, and what punishments are acceptable in your home. It certainly won’t help if your partner punishes your kids in ways that you don’t agree with, and then the two of you are at each other’s throats about how the kids should be handled. A tight parental unit is always more effective, so make sure you have each other’s backs in this!

Parenting is hard, so be sure you get the right help from the start

Whatever decisions you make with regards to the role your new partner plays in parenting your kids, you can be sure it will come with challenges. All parenting is that way. But one thing you can do to ensure that your parenting process is as smooth as possible after your divorce, is to ensure that all child custody and parenting time issues are properly handled during the divorce. And that’s where we come in. Our experienced family law attorneys have helped hundreds of mid-Michigan parents over the years, and we can help you too. Just call 866 766 5245 for a free consultation.