Welcome back and thanks for joining us. We’ve been looking at the issue of discipline, and how hard it can be when you and your ex have to co-parent your kids but can’t agree on what methods of discipline are best. If that sounds like your situation, then know that you’re not alone. Many divorced parents struggle to agree on how to parent their kids!
In most cases, co-parents who disagree on discipline methods tend to disagree on what they believe is most effective for the specific child in question. For example, grounding or taking away screen time is more effective for teenagers, while time outs and removing beloved items tends to work better on younger children. And kids don’t make it any easier for you…
Kids themselves can make this even harder!
As if the disagreements on discipline aren’t already hard enough, your kids can make it even more challenging when they compare the two. And if you’re the stricter parent, then you’re likely to come up short in the comparisons. Kids are smart – they’ll figure out pretty quickly that you and your ex aren’t in agreement, and they’ll probably try to use it to their advantage.
Trying to guilt one parent into letting them do something that the other parent already allows is a pretty common tactic. But you don’t have to give in just because your kids are manipulating you! Stay strong, take a deep breath, and do what you know if right for your children, even if it isn’t what they want.
And remember – your kids might not be telling you the whole truth!
It’s also worth remembering that kids are not always honest. (This can be hard to accept because no parent wants to face the fact that their kids are being devious or manipulative!) Your children may be telling you they’re allowed to stay up as late as they want, or eat candy for breakfast at their other parent’s home. But is that really true?
However, there’s always the chance that they’re saying that in the hopes that you’ll want to avoid being the “less liked parent,” and let them do what they want. Stick to your guns if the lesson is important to you, and don’t be influenced by claims of comparative freedoms, whether or not they’re true.
Keep your opinions about your ex to yourself!
You may think your ex is a lazy or selfish parent, or worse – a harsh and unloving disciplinarian. But don’t say that to your kids. When your children point out how you don’t compare favorably with your ex when it comes to permissions and treats, or complain about how “mean” their other parent is, be careful how you word your responses.
When your kids point out how restrictive you are, stick to statements that reinforce your stance without throwing your ex under the bus. “Your dad may allow that, but in this house we do things differently” or “Your mom might say that’s okay, and she makes the rules at her house. But I make the decisions here.” Trash talking your ex could backfire when your kids repeat your sentiments to their other parent. And then you’ve got allegations of parental alienation to deal with, which is serious stuff!
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world!
Regardless of what they might think, kids need structure and predictability. They need to know where they stand, and what’s expected of them. So if your best bet as a parent is to create rules you believe will protect and help them, and then stay consistent in how you enforce them. In the end your kids will be better off for it!
Parenting after a divorce is hard, which is why it’s so important to ensure that issues like custody, child support and parenting time are properly handled during the divorce proceedings. So if you or a loved one are considering divorce, get help from The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled family law attorneys have decades of experience helping people with their divorces. We can help you too.