Embracing Parenting Differences After Divorce

Embracing Parenting Differences After Divorce
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Kids are more adaptable than we give them credit for.
Kids are more adaptable than we give them credit for.
Tiffany Beverlin

When the settlement is reached and you embark on divorced life as two single parents, it is always an adjustment. For the most part your children will probably rotate back and forward between the two parents homes. This doesn’t just mean a change in living arrangements, but also in parenting. Most likely there was a certain parenting dynamic, one parent being more involved in day to day care, and discipline of the children. Each person naturally parents differently they often have differing views on everything from feeding the children, to doing school projects with them. Parenting can often cause additional ongoing problems for all members of the family. Here are some tips to help co-parenting after divorce.

1. Realize that you are both probably not gourmet cooks, that the way one parent feeds their children compared to the other is for the most part OK, (unless some extreme diet) and will probably not hurt them. Teach your children individually to make healthy food choices and to stay active, encourage your ex non cooking spouse to learn to grill, assemble healthy options and fill their fridge with easy to grab fruits and vegetable snacks.

2. Home tidiness, I had a someone, contact me and said that their exes home was a total pig sty that they felt it was unhealthy for children. I can’t really say where the line goes from healthy to unhealthy, but a lot of humans generally aren’t neat by nature, encourage your children at both houses to clean up after themselves and clean where appropriate for their age, a 15 year old is very capable of keeping both homes rooms clean.

3. Discipline can be a really tricky area, some parents have very lax rules and consequences while other parents have a much more regimented and strict set of rules and regulations. Where possible try to sit down with the other parent and agree on certain areas of discipline, parenting works better and easier if at both homes there are same basic rules. If this is not possible try and instill in your children what is acceptable or not where ever they may be. Children are very adaptable and will quickly figure out what is acceptable at each home or not.

4. Rules such as what is appropriate for children of whatever age can be problematic, even within married couples, so much grey area in movie ratings, book contents and other things they are exposed to. Even small things can cause an issue, whether one parent drinks and one does or one openly dates and one doesn’t can cause issues. There is no blanket fix for these issues, same thing applies talk to your children explain anything they may ask, explain to them why they shouldn’t watch certain movies, or read certain things and hope that if your ex-spouse can’t be adult enough to figure this out your children just know what’s right or wrong. Obviously if the things they are exposed to put them in any danger, seek legal advice to have that behavior stopped.

5. Religion and beliefs sometimes even religious beliefs can be totally different from one home to another, always try to be respectful of each other’s beliefs and encourage your children to think for themselves, quite often children embrace and enjoy having two sets of traditions and can learn valuable lessons from both religions and traditions.

This list obviously can go on and on, but basically as long as each parents isn’t putting the children in harm’s way or exposing them to dangerous or vastly inappropriate things, most of the differentials of parenting you have to let go. You can drive yourself crazy stressing over each thing your ex does, that isn’t quite the same as you do as a parent, but at the end of the day children learn from both parents different lessons and make different memories, so perhaps it irks you that your children only eat frozen dinners at your ex’s but perhaps that parent is better at showing your children the wonders of nature on hikes or nature trips. Maybe one parents strengths in some way are the others weakness, so as long as your children are happy, fed, clothed and well looked after we should try to embrace parenting differences and not dwell on to them to the point it causes additional stress to yourself or children. Remember mostly children need above all else to have two healthy happy parents who love them unconditionally so let the little things go.

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