There are a lot of challenges in raising children between two different homes after you’ve separated or started the divorce process in New Mexico. While you and your co-parent likely agree that you want your children to be raised so that they are happy and healthy, it’s the fine details that could become a contention point. A facet one parent finds to be very important, such as letting kids express themselves, may not be viewed as equally important by the other parent. Having differing parenting styles isn’t a bad thing, but the variations between them could spark disputes and ongoing conflict. Check out the following tips to help you make your co-parenting work even when there’s a clash in parenting styles.
Seek a balance
Parenting styles vary widely, ranging from very strict to relaxed with rules and easygoing. While you may be more toward one end and your co-parent might be on the other, that doesn’t mean either of you are necessarily wrong. As long as you have no safety concerns when your child is with his or her other parent, respect that time and try to let your frustrations go. You need to work as a team with your co-parent, so it’s important to try to set aside your opposing viewpoints so you can come together effectively for your child. Don’t interfere with your co-parent’s style by speaking negatively of him or her or the way he or she is parenting in front of your child. You don’t want your child to feel as if he or she needs to take sides or is caught in the middle.
You need to work with your co-parent to come to an agreement on the big issues, such as education, acceptable behavior and healthcare. These types of important matters have a huge impact on your child today and in the future, so adjusting expectations now can help avoid conflict over time. When you discuss these issues with your child, present them with your co-parent as a united front; this sets clear expectations for your child in these areas.
Keep in mind that children are flexible
Children encounter many different rules depending on what they are doing and where they currently are. Sports practice, school, and friends’ homes all have varying rules. Most of the time, your child is able to easily adapt to all the different rules they have in the various areas of their lives, and they can do this with the varying rules in your home and your co-parent’s home, too. You can help your child get used to the varying expectations between your house and his or her other parent’s house by acknowledging the other parent’s rules in a manner that is clear and without judgment. At the same time, you need to make sure your child follows your rules. It can be tempting to be the “fun parent” post-separation or after divorce, but children need stability and routine more than anything else, and enforced rules help provide that.
Disengage if you need to
At the times when it feels as if you just can’t come together with your ex and you’re constantly fighting, you and your co-parent may need to disengage for a time. Limit your direct contact with your co-parent while still being very much in your kid’s life, and let your co-parent know you think some space is needed so you two can come together with clearer heads.
Your child can still thrive even if your parenting style never fully aligns with your co-parent’s. Keep the tips above in mind, and always have your child’s best interests in the forefront of your mind, even when times are challenging.