It’s been predicted that 1 in 2 marriages will ultimately end in divorce. Hence, the number of children being shuffled from one parent’s house to the other will likely increase. Once children are involved in a divorce, parents must attempt to work through their differences. Although some parents stay together for the children, this is not always the smartest option. When fighting or yelling becomes a daily occurrence, separation becomes a better alternative. If parents reside in separate households, this usually means that children must abide by two sets of rules. After a separation or divorce, children display a range of emotions from anger to depression. To make the transition easier, both parents should maintain an active role in the children’s lives. Living in separate homes does not relieve parents of their obligation. Co-parenting is essential. For this to be a success, parents have to work collectively.
Keep Consistent Rules: When parents separate or divorce, there is often the tendency to indulge children. The parent who moved out may feel guilty. However, do not allow guilt to interfere with your parenting responsibility. Children and teenagers are smart and capable of manipulation. If children detect their parent’s shame, they may take advantage of the situation. This entails testing their boundaries or acting out. Never bend the rules. Even though a major change has occurred, the house rules should remain the same.
Argue in Private: If possible, parents should put aside their dislike for each other and focus on raising stable children. Understandably, situations do occur where parents develop a strong hatred for one another. Though quarrelling is inevitable, attempt to keep the shouts to a minimum. If you must fight or argue, do so in private. Besides, when parents have a routine of yelling, children may use this as a device for manipulation. In other words, if a child becomes upset with one parent, they may seek an ally in the other parent. This can easily spark an unnecessary battle between the parents.
Make Decisions Together: When it comes to a child’s well-being, parents should discuss important decisions together. For example, if a teenager wants to study abroad for the summer or a semester, before signing the parental consent form, it’s only fair to have a meeting with the other parent. Even if the parent lives out-of-state, speaking with them beforehand is the respectable thing to do. Besides, eventually they will learn of the child’s upcoming departure. Not having prior knowledge of a major decision will result in hurt feeling and possible conflicts.
Share Similar Household Rules: It is important for both parents to adopt similar household rules. Again, children and teenagers have a talent for manipulation. Hence, if one parent establishes a lot of rules, whereas the other parent is very lenient, the child will likely prefer one household over the other. To avoid sending a mixed message, parents should meet together and establish a set of rules for both homes. For example, what is the child’s curfew? Can they have phone calls from the opposite sex? Which type of entertainment is appropriate? Are they allowed to wear make-up?
Take an Active Parenting Role: A common problem that exists among co-parenting situations is the failure of both parents to take an active role in disciplining and rule making. Some parents have a tendency of sitting back and allowing the other parent to establish all the rules. Children require the influence of both parents. Besides, it’s not fair for one parent to shoulder all the responsibility for raising and guiding the children.