Successful shared custody starts with agreement, united front

Successful shared custody starts with agreement, united front

You and your partner or spouse have split up, possibly because you didn’t see eye to eye on parts of your relationship.

One area where it’s key to find the common ground after you break up, however, is in parenting. You might be a warm and cuddly parent and your ex the disciplinarian, so what do you do if you disagree about discipline while sharing custody of your kids?

Start by chatting to understand your differences and figure out where you might find mutual ground. It isn’t good for the children to see continuing disagreements and the lack of a cohesive message between their parents. Inconsistent rules or discipline can confuse younger children, while older kids can figure out how to push the boundaries with both parents.

So, once you’ve identified those differences, how do you come to a resolution?

First, accept that you have different parenting styles and agree there are different methods for child raising. Respect that you both are entitled to your own thoughts.

Then, move on to find common ground. What household rules do you both value? Each of you can come up with five and agree to enforce the other’s priorities when the kids are with you. And how about the discipline?

Well, you both want your child to take part in caring for the family pet. While you might let your child off the hook if they miss a night taking the dog for a walk, your ex might want to withhold their allowance. Instead, how about giving your child one free pass per week, or month, if they have too much homework? That could be a place where you could compromise.

Once you’ve reached an agreement, jointly present to the kids your expectations and tell then you are on the same page. That will let the kids know you are a united front, and you won’t tolerate them running to the other with a complaint.

After some time, revisit your rules and priorities and share stories of what does and doesn’t work. If you need to tinker with your list, do so and let the kids know.

Remember that the kids will learn from your behavior. If you don’t disagree in front of them, they will know your parenting plan is a solid one.