Getting divorced is hard. Co-parenting after a divorce is hard. But trying to be a consistent and dedicated parent to your kids, year after year, while your ex undermines all of your parenting efforts is beyond challenging! Which is exactly what it feels like when you and your ex can’t come to terms on methods of discipline.
Because nothing is more frustrating than trying to teach your kids about the consequences of their actions, when your ex caves in and gives them whatever they want. Or worse, trying to be reasonable and fair to your kids, and then having to send them back to a parent who yells at them for every tiny infraction and metes out harsh punishments for even the smallest mistakes.
Many divorced parents disagree on discipline
You’re not alone. Discipline is one of the biggest sticking points for divorced parents in Michigan. There are loads of different ways to deal with bad behavior and crappy choices from your kids, and not all parents agree with one another on how to handle these issues. For example:
- Spanking (although there are mixed feelings about how well this works)
- Taking away privileges (like playdates or allowance)
- Time out (which works better for younger kids)
- Grounding (which is usually the province of teenagers)
- Additional chores (usually the awful ones no one wants),
- Taking away beloved items (like favorite toys, cell phones, or tablets)
What gets complicated is when you and your ex don’t agree on which methods work best for your kids, and which methods are unacceptable. If you believe that calm talks and time outs are the best way, but your ex responds to all disobedience with shouting and spankings, it’s going to cause some major problems between you.
Is your ex “not a good parent”, or are they are a danger to your kids?
There’s a big difference between a parent who doesn’t take care of their kids the way you think it should be done, and a parent who is legitimately abusive or violent towards their children. If your ex is using punishments that you believe are potentially harmful, or puts your child’s health at risk, we suggest speaking to them first. If they disagree, you could suggest that you both attend parenting counseling.
If you believe your child is in danger, contact the relevant authorities immediately to report that. However, be careful about making reports to the authorities. The police, CPS, lawyers, and judges are all used to parents who make regular claims of abuse in order to manipulate a situation or get a better custody agreement. If they assume you’re angling for more time with the kids by throwing your ex under the bus it’s likely to come back to bite you!
Co-parenting is extremely challenging, no matter who you are!
Regardless of who you are, or how well you and your ex get along, there are going to be times when you don’t agree on parenting styles. And when the specific issue is discipline, it gets even harder. Obviously, our skilled and experienced family lawyers can’t (and won’t) tell you how to parent your kids, but we can help you figure out all the legal stuff and help you prepare for a better future.
From child support and custody issues, to dividing up your assets and even preparing for your next relationship with a well-crafted prenup, we’ve got your back. So call 866 766 5245 to get all the divorce help you could possibly need. And don’t forget to join us next time for a little more info on dealing with different discipline styles.