Parenting during and after a divorce is full of decisions you’ll have to make with the other parent, whether you like each another or not. Cooperating and communicating without blow-ups or bickering makes decision-making easier, avoids conflict and minimizes the chance of further litigation. Here are a few practical tips on how to parent with mutual respect and minimum conflict.
It’s healthy for children to be exposed to different perspectives and to learn to be flexible, but they also need to know they’re living under the same basic set of expectations at each home. Aiming for consistency avoids confusion for your children.
Rules don’t have to be exactly the same between two households, but if you and your ex-spouse establish generally consistent guidelines, your kids won’t have to bounce back and forth between two radically different disciplinary environments. Important lifestyle rules like homework time, curfews, and off-limit activities should be followed in both households.
Discipline should be the same or similar for broken rules. For example, if your child has lost privileges while at the other parent’s house, keep the restriction in place.
Aim for consistency in your children’s schedules. Making meals, homework, and bedtimes similar can go a long way toward your child’s adjustment to having two homes.
The cost of maintaining two separate households can strain your attempts to be effective co-parents. Set a realistic budget and keep accurate records for shared expenses. Don’t try to purchase your children’s affections. However, be gracious if the other parent can afford to provide opportunities for your children that you cannot provide.