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Dealing with an ex who doesn't share your parenting style

Co-parenting after a divorce always has its challenges. You and your spouse take turns being single parents of sorts. Therefore, you likely find yourself making more parenting decisions than you did when you were married. This is a time when many people who left the discipline or other parenting issues to their spouse now have to step up and make decisions without someone else there to back them up.

Many parents find their parenting style for the first time after a divorce. However, what if that style clashes with your co-parent's? How do you provide consistency for your kids as they take turns living in each of their parents' homes?

Experts recommend that divorced parents find a balance between their styles. It's important to agree or at least find an acceptable mutual solution on important matters like education, health care and major disciplinary issues. However, you shouldn't spend time bickering over what time the kids have to go to bed, how much TV they can watch or how much fast food they can eat as long as it's not affecting their health, safety or well-being.

Kids are more flexible than most parents realize. They understand that there are different rules for how to behave in school, at church, at friends' houses and in other situations. They understand that the rules won't be the same at each parent's home. However, it's crucial for parents to be consistent in enforcing their own rules and not to disparage the other parent's rules to their children. When kids see that their parents have a united front, they can feel more secure.

Some newly-divorced parents have negative feelings about each other that make it difficult to deal with their ex's parenting style. In those cases, parallel parenting may be the best solution, at least temporarily.

With parallel parenting, moms and dads disengage from one another and let the other parent do what he or she sees best without interference. Of course, that's assuming that neither parent is emotionally or physically harming the kids or putting them in danger.

If you're having difficulty dealing with your ex's parenting style or you think that parallel parenting may be the best solution as you go through this difficult time, your Rhode Island family law attorney can provide guidance and resources to help you and your family find a positive way to move forward.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "Finding a Balance When Parenting Styles Clash," accessed July 18, 2017

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