After you get divorced, you still have to co-parent your child with your ex. It’s best to have similar strategies and viewpoints, as that lets the child know what to expect. Parents need to cooperate, even when their own relationship has ended.
Co-parents disagree all the time
Unfortunately, agreeing on all parenting issues is tough — for married parents and divorced parents. There are likely to be points where you don’t see things the same way. A few common examples include:
- What you should do if the child has a tantrum
- What type of discipline you are allowed to use
- How strict you should be
- How to talk to the child — i.e., is it ever okay to yell at the child for doing something wrong?
- If the child should be allowed in the parent’s bed
- How strict to be about schoolwork
- What friends the child is allowed to spend time with and where they can go
- How much money to spend on presents
Things can get very difficult when parents take a completely opposite approach. Maybe a young teen asks to go to a party with friends. One parent thinks it’s dangerous and adamantly refuses permission. The other parent thinks it’s fine and says they can go. Not only are the parents not creating a united front, but one may actively allow the child to do something that makes the other parent uncomfortable.
Your rights as a parent when your co-parent won’t work with you
All parents have rights. Disagreements are going to happen, and that’s when you need to know what those rights are and what steps you can take to resolve your co-parenting problems. Crafting an effective parenting plan is a good start because it can help define the parameters of each parent’s role and set in place agreements for how to handle conflicts.