By Jennifer Chung, Kinsights.com
Co-parenting is challenging in any situation, but a separation or divorce certainly adds extra stress. Establishing consistency between parents, especially when it comes to discipline and setting boundaries, can certainly make the transition less rocky for the whole family.
- Try to maintain the rules that existed when you were married. If your kids weren’t allowed to watch television before 7:00am, don’t suddenly make it okay to do that. When everything in your child’s life seems to be changing, having structure around rules can provide a sense of stability.
- Every divorce comes with its own set of communication issues between parents. As much as you can, discuss big decisions and establish boundaries together. If you have a less-than-collaborative relationship with your ex, focus on the big issues and try not to sweat the smaller ones. The key is to keep the rules within your respective homes consistent, so your kids know what to expect in each home.
- If you are unable to be civil with each other, especially when it comes to parenting issues, consider having a third party help.
- Don’t overturn each other’s decisions, and don’t say yes when you had agreed to say no. Being consistent will help you, your ex and your children.
- Don’t pit your children against the other parent – this often happens with both married and divorced couples. No matter how frustrated, hurt or angry you are at your spouse, hold your tongue and find a trusted friend that can listen to you vent.
Going back and forth between houses and parents can be tough – taking as much uncertainty and guesswork out of the picture for your kids is an important part of the transition. Make sure that your kids know the routine, rules, and boundaries in each home. And keep the lines of communication open with your children. They may not proactively bring up their concerns, so checking in (even if they don’t want to talk) helps them know that you’re always available.
About Jennifer Chung & Kinsights.com
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child’s health information. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at https://kinsights.com to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@kinsights).