It’s only normal for a family to have both good days and those days when everyone seems to be getting on each other’s nerves. Raising children requires involvement by both parents, regardless of the situation that exists in the relationship between the two parents during and after a divorce.
What can often happen though, is that one parent refuses to let the other parent play an equal role in child raising.
Conflict Over the Children:
A happy home for children begins with two loving parents that respect the partnership that parenting represents. Sometimes this partnership seems to be working well. In other instances, one parent will become possessive of the children, if not downright bossy and dictatorial about how they will be raised. This can lead to serious problems, especially in the area of discipline.
For example, if one parent consistently undermines the authority of the other parent, eventually the children learn they don’t have to listen to that parent. This can cause serious problems as the child may learn to misbehave when the more demanding parent is not around.
This can lead to increased tension in the relationship between the parents causing resentment by the parent who feels that his or her role has been diminished. When little John or Jane gets in trouble, it becomes very easy for one parent to blame the other for the child’s behavior.
Arguing about child rearing issues is not uncommon even in the most happy and healthy parental relationships. However, when one parent takes complete control over other parent then it can become a troublesome matter. Children can be very manipulative and they learn quickly how to take advantage of any weaknesses they see in parental control. Parents need to present a united front to their children.
Presenting a United Front:
There are plenty of conflicts that take place either during, or as a result of divorce that escalate issues related to child rearing. When one parent insists on raising the children his or her way without regard for the wishes of the other parent, the undermined parent begins to feel as if they don’t have an important role in their children’s lives. Why bother staying actively involved in your children’s lives if what you say has no impact or bearing on your children?
Children need consistent disciplining.They also need to see parents who are united in their disciplining roles. Even if you disagree with the other parent’s choice of discipline, the time to talk about your feelings is via email and not around the children. It is important that you put up a united front.
Merging parenting styles that are different takes a lot of communication between parents. For example, one parent may be very lenient while the other may be very strict. This can lead to a lot of arguing as each parent tries to convince the other of their view point. But arguing is seldom productive. Instead of arguing, you need to discuss how to combine the two styles of parenting into an effective child raising program.
Talking About Goals:
Communication with the other parent about goals for your children is important. Most parents want the same things for their children. The want their children to learn how to listen to instructions, develop the right social skills and respect their parents. Blending two very different parenting skills can achieve these goals without a lot of arguing and escalated conflict amongst the parents.
You don’t want to escalate the conflict that probably already exists on account of your divorce because you couldn’t agree on how to raise children. That is a real paradox, because a family should be kept intact as often as possible. You can work on developing communication skills with the other parent and solve the parenting problems even though you may no longer be married to each other.
What you need to know about co-parenting after divorce: