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Why you and your ex need to agree about rules for the kids

On Behalf of | Oct 9, 2020 | Divorce

It is pretty common for married couples to have differing opinions about discipline and expectations for the kids. The discrepancy in their personal approach to parenting will likely only grow after a separation or divorce.

Children of all ages quickly figure out which parent lets them get away with more and may even use that knowledge to manipulate both parents after a divorce. If you and your ex will share custody, it is of the utmost importance that you find ways to coordinate your approaches to parenting so that your children understand what you expect of them and more easily adjust to their new family circumstances.

You don’t have to agree on everything if you agree on the biggest issues

Maybe one of you allows the children to have more screen time than the other or lets the children stay up an hour later on the weekends. In the grand scheme of your children’s childhood experiences, those minor differences likely aren’t going to be a big issue.

However, rules regarding responsibilities, school performance, socialization and respect should be consistent between houses. Consistency makes it easier for the children to know what they should do and for parents to enforce their rules and expectations. If both parents have the children doing small tasks to earn a weekly allowance or just contribute to household maintenance, that helps teach them the importance of responsibility.

Similarly, both parents should have the same approach to encouraging studying and appropriate socialization for the age of the children. When parents don’t agree on these topics, it is more likely for them to experience conflict. They may also have conflicts with the children when their behavior doesn’t align with the expectations of the kids.

Co-parenting should be a supportive process, not a battle of wills

A parent with no sort of household structure or expectations for the children can easily undermine the family daily routine and the social and emotional development of the children. Working together to create realistic rules and expectations for your children that reflect their personal abilities and age is one of the more important parts of successful co-parenting.

Committing some of these expectations to writing in your comprehensive parenting plan will give you written rules to reference and a starting point for discussions when your ex doesn’t uphold the family rules appropriately.