4 Tips For Day to Day Co-parenting
January 30, 2019
BY: Amanda Yu
Co-parenting is extremely difficult, whether or not you are an intact family. Most parents’ parenting styles differ, and those differences may become even more apparent after divorce or separation when your children’s time is split between you and your ex. When parenting in an intact family, there may be a “good cop” and a “bad cop” in any given situation. However, once you and your partner are separated, this gets tricky. Neither parent wants to be the bad cop and potentially threaten their “upper hand” on the other parent. Whether it be because of guilt or a desire to be the child’s favorite, it may be hard to lay down the law with your child post-separation. Nevertheless, it is your job as a parent to remain strong and always do what is best for your child even if it does not get you “cool parent” points. Here are some tips from our New Jersey divorce attorneys on how to successfully co-parent after divorce or separation.
To the best of your ability, communicate with your ex. Children are smarter than you think. We’ve all seen it on TV and in the movies: Child asks Mom to go to a party, and Mom says no. The child then asks Dad to go to the same party and says Mom gave permission, so Dad says okay. If you do not communicate with your ex, your child has learned how to manipulate you. If your child asks you for permission to do something, and you say no, make sure you relay that information to your ex. Likewise, if you are unsure of where you stand on a certain issue, reach out to your ex so that you are not sending different information to your child. At the end of the day, managing your co-parenting styles is not something that you should involve your children in, and you should strive to have open communication with your ex to work towards that mutual goal.
Depending on the age of your children, consistency may be as simple as nap times and meal times. As they get older, you and your ex will have to set curfews, parameters as to diet and nutrition, and rules about parties and activities. Making sure that rules are the same across the board will reduce confusion for the children, as well as for you and your ex. Making sure that standard “house rules” are the same no matter which house the children are in will help in maintaining a sense of normalcy and predictability for the children.
3. Rewards and Discipline
As children get older, their responsibilities grow as well. They will have to do homework, chores, and other important activities. Keeping rewards (and punishments) the same for failure or success should be similarly doled out between households. They should also be constant between households. For instance, if your child is grounded for failing an exam in one household, that child should remain grounded when at the other household. If your child earns an extra 30 minutes of television time in one household, that child should receive the same privilege in the other household. Both parents should use a similar system of rewards and punishments so that the child can feel equally responsible no matter where they physically are at the time.
4. Your Child Comes First
Above all else, the most important thing you can do as a parent is to love your children unconditionally, which you already surely do. Regardless of how your relationship with your ex is, your children deserve to learn and grow in a safe and healthy environment. Putting your differences aside with your ex and prioritizing your children’s needs is an important step to successful co-parenting.
At Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC., our New Jersey family attorneys are here to help. Contact us to schedule consultation.