Being a parent is a difficult job. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the kids get a little older and come up with a new parenting puzzle for you to figure out.
Deciding what the rules for the kids are going to be can be hard enough before a divorce, but adding a divorce into the mix can make life even more difficult. Especially when you find it hard to agree on anything.
Here are some quick tips for keeping the rules consistent between two households.
Try to find common ground
You both want what is best for your children. That is something you both can agree on from the beginning. The method for getting there may still be up for debate, but at least the end goal is the same.
Once you can agree on what some of those end goals are, whether it be about bedtime or screen time, it becomes a lot easier to deal with the details, even if some of them are different than you planned.
Communicate with your ex directly
When there are details that you don’t agree on, communicate those to your spouse directly. Your children cannot and should not be messengers between you. It may seem like an easy way to communicate something you don’t want to talk about, but all it does is put your kids in the middle of a disagreement.
Finding a way to communicate with your ex about the kids doesn’t have to be awkward. Keeping communication direct and honest is just one way to make sure that your ex understands where you’re coming from while keeping the kids out of the conflict.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Once you both are able to establish that the end goals are the same, there are a lot of details that don’t matter as much. Your toddlers may have needed a very consistent discipline strategy, but once they are school-age, they are very capable of learning what the rules are in different places. And this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
While it may seem like your children are “getting away” with something at your ex’s house, consider whether it truly is an attempt to undermine your authority or if it is simply a different method for accomplishing the shared goals you have for the children. When you consider first that your ex has positive intentions, the conflicts start to look a lot more minor.
Fight the temptation to be the favorite
Trying to be the “cool” parent who doesn’t have any rules may seem like a good idea at the time because the kids are having fun, but down the road it will only serve to make problems worse. A lack of discipline can communicate to the children that you don’t care for their future well-being. Keeping the rules as consistent as possible will help your children learn that both you and your ex care about them and their future.